The Black Unicorn

Audre Lorde (1934-1992)

The first couple of lines in this poem reference the slave trade in an unorthodox way. The first line reads, “The black unicorn is greedy.” The second line reads, “ The Black Unicorn is Impatient.” If both lines describe a slave then the speaker must have been a slave master. The rest of the poem from then on is mostly likely written from a slave’s perspective. This poem is the first one on the list that has given the oppressor a voice, and an important part in interpreting Black History, and even History all together, is taking account of events from all perspectives.

The black unicorn is greedy.
The black unicorn is impatient.
‘The black unicorn was mistaken
for a shadow or symbol
and taken
through a cold country
where mist painted mockeries
of my fury.
It is not on her lap where the horn rests
but deep in her moonpit
growing.

The black unicorn is restless
the black unicorn is unrelenting
the black unicorn is not
free.