Pray for me, Grieve for me

By Ruth Dele-Oni

Being 19 has been an unexpected whirlwind of emotions and realizations. With all that has happened in this year of my life, immense self-reflection has been the focal point of my poems. Sorting through memories and traumas has given way to understanding of my current state, and my hopes in putting them into proses, I will be able to propel myself into a different future. Both of the following poems have a childhood component that is used to highlight innocence in the midst of pain. The struggle between the then and now show the loss of innocence and coming into reality. 


Lastly, “Pray for me, Grieve for me” is about losing a childhood friend due to these internal conflicts. Reflecting on the relationship shows how naïve the child was to maltreatment, and they are now glad that they went through the fire to reach peace.

Pray for me, Grieve for me

I look through old photographs

and wonder

were you already plotting to abandon me then?

Poor little black girl

never feeling wanted

that’s just a cross to bear

and a stereotype to play into

you had me fooled

made me believe that I was worth something

of a life without suffering

but all you ever wanted was

to be the source…

the tears in my eyes

were masked with laughter

the odd feeling in my stomach

was bypassed by intellectual conversations

this was my forever and always

but in the end

it was all words, wasn’t it?

You made me believe that putting in the bare minimum

was enough effort to support my burdens

but breaking my back to your will

was non-negotiable

the sunshine reflecting off your stolen riches

blinded me to the reality of the toxic situation

it’s wild that I find my solace in pain

but that’s what you wanted me to believe, wasn’t it?

For you knew that you couldn’t provide me with anything else

redefining safety and complacency

has radically changed my viewpoint

the scales have dropped from my eyes

the light within me shines brighter than any torment

goodbye for now

mourn the beauty that fell from your grasp

and I will celebrate

and celebrate

and celebrate. 

Ruth Dele-Oni is a junior at Boston University studying Health Science in the Sargent College of Health and Rehabilitation. When she isn’t advocating for safe sex or aggressively stanning Beyoncé, she spends much of her time lost in artistic outlets. Her writing serves as a window into her soul; not worthy of many but her hopes are that maybe some will be able to relate. This is her therapy, her savior, her life. By portraying her own marginalized life in her life, Ruth plans to pursue scientific research in order to directly assist marginalized populations, specifically black queer women.