I am sorry too

[Written in response to ‘I am sorry‘ by Vinette Hoffman-Jackson]

I am sorry
I passed you by,
as if you were invisible, 
and impossible to befriend.

I’m sorry
I didn’t cross the road,
ask your name,
and offer to share your load.

I am sorry
I sat in the same room,
sipped my tea, 
crunched my gingersnaps
and didn’t offer to fill your cup. 

I’m sorry
I never looked back
over centuries
before you were a slave
transported for the sake of my ancestors’ wealth.

I am sorry
I forgot to pay attention
to your ancestors,
to your colour, to your sweat,
hunger,
pain,
loss,
anger
children,
chains,
your Strange Fruit.

I’m sorry
I drank the poison,
as if it was cod liver oil.

Madiba crossed the road.
I shall never forget.
The only penance I can offer you
Solidarity.
I am sorry.

_____________________

[Note: Vinette Hoffman-Jackson’s ‘I am sorry‘ is from her collection ‘Through Two Black Eyes’, published by YouCaxton Publications 2020. ISBN 9781913425463.]