By Victoria Massie

How could you forget? Has it been that long? I, too, was once a convenience you purchased at the corner. Was I not on your grocery list yesterday? “Slave F 26” written right below the milk and corn? The auction block still rests next to the market downtown. Was I not the gift you bought there for your cousin that one time? I think it was for his 18th birthday. How many times did you lease me out for Christmas? Each year, you promised, a new overseer. Never once was it me.

What about the times you still thought I misplaced myself? Remember those? How you lit the match? When I, too, was reduced to ash over the cackle of burnt wood and fried flesh?

Was I not once yours? Am I not still? Am I not property, just with a different price tag? Rent paid with a few bullets, severed necks and lasts breaths, instead of a few bucks, for my body?


Photo: Charlene Carruthers


Victoria Massie is a PhD Candidate at UC Berkeley currently doing fieldwork in Cameroon.