In this arresting piece, the voice of Marlanda Dekine’s poem challenges our patterns of oppression in echo of Proverbs 31:3.
31 ¶ Envy thou not the oppressor, and choose none of his ways.
The Book of Proverbs has spoken to me throughout my life in many different ways. However, while sifting through its wisdom and being mindful of my personal gifts and my work, it was clear to me that illuminating Proverbs 3:31 was what I ought to do. For centuries, our nation has hidden from the oppression it has inflicted upon people who were not the founding norm—white, heterosexual, Christian, cisgender, and property-owning.
Today, without ongoing self-examination, we all—both white and of color—easily perpetuate the ongoing oppression of others. We have to understand that our current racial chasm is not an accident. The many black and brown bodies that have bled onto this soil are speaking to us. It is my hope that this poem will encourage us to listen, even when it is difficult. It is also my hope that through the work of knowing ourselves, we find ourselves engaged in an ongoing, courageous commitment of working towards true reconciliation and reparation.
Marlanda Dekine-Sapient Soul (she/her/they) is a poet and social worker from Plantersville, South Carolina. She is pursuing her MFA in Poetry with New York University's Low-Residency program in Paris.
Learn more about their work at sapientsoul.com.