Olatunji Osho-Williams

Royalty ravaged my family tree,

the invisible white

hand of the market, that tore

roots from limbs from names

and sucked our sugar

and beat us with the cane.


Royalty ravaged my family tree,

so my blood runs

through forests, and jungles, and leaves red rubied streaks

stretched about the Atlantic:

a deep-sea gene map of

family who never found Atlantis.


Royalty ravaged my family tree yet

I still daydreamed of castles, kings, and queens

with English names so much

I colonized my own.

Anglicization ripped the Yoruba out of these

Black lips, a lah

switched for a luh there

and suddenly Dracula drains the black from

this skin.


Royalty ravaged my family tree

because my blood didn’t own

a coat of arms or

a gothic fortress or

a painted fresco or



My blood is maroon

Maroon like the people

Maroon like brown and red

Maroon like Black Loyalists

Maroon like purpled, bruised, calloused, cramped bodies

finally freed by divine force of will.


It is the soil of Freetown’s Cotton Tree.

It is brown,

It is old,

It is gnarled,

It is strong,

It is ever growing.

That is royalty.

Olatunji Osho-Williams is a sophomore studying Journalism, International Studies, and Spanish. He enjoys orange juice with espresso, and is a lover of all things fantasy and sci-fi.