Karen Wangare Leonard

Someone Told Me That God is a White Man

I grew up hearing that I was made in God’s image.

But everywhere I looked

God’s son was a white man

and my mirror told me I was anything but that.

I pleaded with my skin to be anything but dark

and I tried to be a man of God.

I was never white enough to be pure

or man enough to see the reflection of God.

I was not Godly.

But as I aged, I found out that God is love.

Even on the margins


and forgotten.

God is the angry black woman

fearfully sending her sons out

demanding justice for the ones that never returned.

God is the mother at the border

her child torn away.

God is the child in a cage

becoming a mother to another.

God is the sister fighting for equal pay

and the daughter looking for a way to break the glass ceiling.

God is the giver of life

and ain’t that the most female thing you have heard?

The mother, daughter, sister, friend.

Are we not just as Godly as the man?

God whose son was killed on the cross.

Black and brown bodies suspended in the air


and now.

Ain’t that a reality for people of colour?

Somehow we have made God into a specific image

and anyone who does not look like him

is cast out.

behind walls

inside jail cells

in the kitchen of houses determined force them to stay less than.

So when we are told to go back to where we came from

we will return to God.

Dragging our weary feet

carrying our brokenhearted.

We will leave and find out God was a lot closer

than the world wished us to know.


Karen Leonard is a young Kenyan-American poet currently living in Virginia. Born in Kenya and adopted as a baby, Karen has spent her life traveling between Kenya and Virginia. After her

high school graduation she moved to Oregon for nine months before returning to live in

Harrisonburg, VA. Karen attributes these moves to shaping her world view and molding her into

the writer she is today; she writes unapologetically about who she is growing to be and what she is learning in the process.


She recently self-published her first book of poems, Lightning From her Fingertips, available on her website. When Karen is not writing she is working full time, playing soccer, riding horses, and painting. She is always open to new experiences and big adventures. This is evident in her writing and in her life experiences. Karen is eager to continue growing and writing and sharing her words with the world.

Follow Karen on her social media channels

  • Facebook
  • Twitter


They said a storm was rolling in tonight and we must watch out for flash floods.


When I was young, I would open my windows and invite the storm in.

I’d dare the thunder to call my name and pray for sunny skies to follow.

When the storm had passed, I would go outside to my garden and pick up my sunflowers, drenched from the rain.

I would curl my toes in the mud

and coddle the earthworms

while singing to the bees to come visit.

And when the sun would make its appearance

I would hold my flowers high, begging the beams to kiss their faces.

See, the sunflowers-- my love-grown, hand-picked, close-enough-to-touch-from-my-window-sunflowers were the resilient kind.


Let the storm roll in tonight.

I will be waiting at my open window.

Part woman, all storm.

The thunder-coursing-through-my-veins, lightning-on-my-fingertips type: the resilient kind

Karen 2.jpg



This homecoming of sorts

lights my heart on fire.

My bones sing

when they return under Kenyan clouds

and African sun.

This sky has known me since birth.

The sun tickles the corners of my mouth

daring me to call out to the light. 

It asks me why I ever ventured away so far

to live under a different sky

that I can only pretend to know so well. 

Dear Sky




Dear Kenya

I will return. 

My lungs can never get their fill of this air.

My feet yearn for the ground

and my heart knows I can never truly leave. 



We believe in the power of the arts for cultural transformation. We are a group of artists, edge-walkers, people who believe in the power of engaging our innate creative spark, sharing that expression with the world, and supporting others whose voices have been marginalized. 




650 Parkwood Dr.
Harrisonburg, VA 22802




© 2023 by HARMONY. Proudly created with Wix.com