The Elders know and shake your hand,
not afraid to pat you on the shoulder.
This virus, this sickness of mankind,
traditional ways of healing,
revealing your lack of fear.
Cry your tears upon Earth, our Mother.
We have wounded Her,
She is weak and cannot replenish herself.
Change, or be sick like Her.
Now bow your head and pray in their indigenous tongue.
Centuries gone by since those words were spoken.
They speak the truth.
Few speak the language of freedom anymore.
Fewer still hold fast to traditional ceremonies.
Walking in two worlds, and you dance disastrously
with drugs, poverty, and shame.
Embrace a sexual strength like you have never before.
My Sister, my Sister:
It is my prayer, my wish
that you wake from your slumber and learn
a new way, which is old.
My daughters, my daughters:
I say it is time for the change.
You can and must handle it,
together we will
speak it, educate it, teach it, sing it, and cry it
until this new liberation is embedded in us all.
Khafre Kujichagulia Abif, Cornbread, Fish and Collard Greens: Prayers, Poems & Affirmations for People Living With HIV/AIDS (AuthorHouse, August 2013).