Rahel Ambachew

Rahel Ambachew is currently a sophomore majoring in Biology and minoring in Chemistry. She writes poetry in English and her first language Amharic. She is a published children’s book author for Nechisar National Park. She hopes to continue mastering her craft and publish Amharic young adult novels.

The Essence of Blackness

Long long ago, when the native people of this land were all that was here
Before the white people came around and stole people
Before they tried to erase our identity and paint our skin the color of hate and take us as enemy,
Before they wanted to distort our culture and religions because they couldn't wrap their heads around the fact that 
We could talk to nature, make peace with earth and heavenly bodies….
We lit fire and burned incenses
We pressed leaves and made medicines
We had gardens full of herbs that healed our bodies

We made peace with the mountains, carving them precisely with an accuracy that could not be matched
Layering rock on top of another making pyramids  

We could talked to the stars constellations aligning to tell us how to get home
We made peace with earth, the lakes and rivers
We drank from heavenly waters

Our land was fertile, trees love growing there
The earth under us was a treasure chest 
We walked on gold and diamonds precious stones on the crust 

Art was our language weaving stained grass
Mixing and matching complementary colors
Beading earings and necklaces molding pottery and citing poetry
Braiding hair and picking afros painting our face 
All in the presence of the sun and the everyday breeze of the nightly air 

Music was our language drums matching our heart beats
Dancing around fire we inspire 

Our skin is a complex mixture of oral history and geographical blessing 
Our skin is not afraid to make the sun part of it self
Our skin lusts in the ray and heat and light 
We wear the sun like a halo
glowing like angels we emit light 

Beauty that never gets old 
Culture that could never expire
Our ancestors’ essence transcends time and space, hardships and death, injustice and filth 
The black Essence can not be striped down by slavery
It can not be killed by imperialism, colonization, occupation, false constitutions, apartheid, redlining, incarceration not jim crow or scrambling 
Even if fire rained for water we are growing 

We are science 
We are superstition
We are grounded and up lifted 
Gravity defying hair 
Kings and queens 
Milk and honey
We are blessed truly 

All of our stories might not be written, schools might brush off thousands of years of black history
But you my black sisters and brothers 
are the waking history of our ancestors 
You hold the black essence in you
Let me tell you a simple example
When you take that selfie smiling to your phone 
The sun making you its home 
Glowing like a goddess 
You are the essence 
You simply radiate the people that came before you 
All history comes boiling down to you
All that exists, all that shines that works, all that is to come has your fingerprints
Your power is unlimited you know how to handle it 
Ethics is your essence, Persistence, loyalty
Fix your crown walk fiercely  

Know that some people can’t see the big picture 
Because you are plastered all over the world in big prints and neon lights
You are your ancestors wildest dreams 
And yes you will grow like dandelions you could sail over the wind
And find freedom within yourself 
Pioneers of the essence 
Gratitude and blessing to our black ancestors
We indulge in your presence right here and in every space.