Footprints of the Elders

Footprints of the Elders: This poem is dedicated to the elder women who have laid down their footprints so that I may find the way.


I come from a line of women

who bounced babies and balanced budgets at the kitchen table

so that I could study theory and debate ideas

in college classrooms.

I come from a line of women

that know the taste of tears

and meals seasoned with sacrifice

my best life is only an unfitting offering

placed at my grandmother’s feet.

This work is for more than me.

It is for the heroines who planted little girls

and grew strong women.  

Say their names with honor lining your throat

and reverence on your tongue

Gertie Mae








Brenda Joyce

When you wrap your lips around my success

don’t forget to mention the names of the women who held me under their tongues at prayer time

Women who worked tirelessly under the sun

and worried only beneath the moonlight.

Be sure to mention the women who whispered

oak tree wisdom and spoke life to my future

from deep roots

I did not get here alone

I am the product of a long line of women

who gathered

who cared

who waited

who corrected

who toiled

who taught

who prayed

who learned

who spoke

who sowed

who listened

women who know what it is like to be both promise and flesh.  

You’ve fixed your eyes on this life of mine

like the finished product is all there is to the story

look closer

and you will see those that came before me

and left lessons like breadcrumbs

for me to follow one unsteady footstep at a time.