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Discourse on how Sapphire got her name

My mother used to muse she was a slave to passion

she liked fornication

liked it a lot

it helped rebuke

disappointments on her timeline

the other women in our walk-up

called her Jezebel

but not to her face

because she’d cut their pretty little derrières

rearrange their bodies with her devil’s tongue

not because I was pitch blue-black like the gemstone

not even because she wanted me hard & unyielding

she named me after Sapphire Stevens from The Amos ‘n’ Andy show

I was never going to take it lying down

Sapphire is not the name of a slave

You could be as sweet as Weezy on The Jeffersons

My mother used to say it didn’t matter anyway

if you was a strong black woman who stood her ground

they was going to find another name for you

like Esther





from DiVidaFind more by Monica A. Hand at the library

Copyright © 2018 Monica A. Hand
Used with the permission of The Permissions Company, LLC on behalf of Alice James Books.

Published in Monica A. Hand Poems

This program is supported in part by a grant from the Idaho Humanities Council, a State-based program of the National Endowment for the Humanities.

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