A Prayer for Mississippi:
Mississippi, I pray my feet touch your earth again some day.
I pray that I feel what it’s like to breathe in still, heavy air and to run through the Delta. I pray for your bugs and the sweat on my eyebrows, and the curls that formed on the side of my face from your sweet, sweet heat.
I pray for the love of the Delta to occupy every corner of my soul. For the feeling of a front porch Sunday afternoon and the “ah” of a rare breeze. I want to meet the Devil at the crossroads, and dismantle him.
Mississippi, what I want most is the innocence I felt before I landed in your Delta. I can’t go back to not knowing what chalk less classrooms and children without books look like. I have tried to shake them from my nightmares and my every day intentions.
I can’t forget the heaviness and guilt and holiness I felt while riding over the West Tallahatchie River, the very spot where Emmett Till was carelessly and senselessly and violently sacrificed in the name of hatred and racism. I can’t forget how my soul aches for the injustice and the love that weave together the fabric of the Delta. I cannot go back to who I was before I rode over that bridge. I don’t want to be that person anymore.
Mississippi, I pray that you open your arms with opportunity to me. I hope you bring me back to the rice and the blues and the children. I pray you keep calling me as strongly as you have for 379 days since I first met Cleveland, MS.
Thank you for creating purpose within me.