Cyra Akila

You are not our right of passage

When she stood in front of the podium for the first time
And saw a sea pink-faced grimaces, pinched with surprise
She cleared her throat and let her voice ring out

And they were stunned that she could speak
so well, that she knew the subject, she was maybe better
than them.

Then they decided it wasn't acceptable that a brown-skin
should make them feel like supplicants at the chalice
of knowledge, make them feel less than her master

And they spoke, rubbish most of the time, like
debris in her path, building up confusion like barricades and hurdles
to jump.

She walked around them and said: You are not my right of passage
I have already been tested and I owe no apologies
to you for my presence.

And I have walked through the flames of resentment
I do not need to prove to you who
I am.

They sat quiet in their chairs, blocking their ears
reciting: "I have nothing to learn from this bitch"
they remained ignorant and stubborn.

And they blamed her because they were not her right of passage,
because she dared to stand up to them, in front of
the podium.