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It’s safer to drown with yourself

and now we’ll stitch ourselves back up
into the shells that allow us to transverse this life
back into a place that keeps it all at arm’s length
a place where water is just above our heads
but we don’t ever drown—an ocean of our own Continue reading It’s safer to drown with yourself

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my mouth has been looking for you

my mouth is full of words
that wish to fall into someone’s lap
to burrow into a chest and root
they wish to coil and dig
into marrow and blood
so deeply that only god could
pull them from that someone

my mouth is full of wanting
of sweetness that wishes to
erase the bitterness from lips
that have searched too long
for an ocean of woman to drown in

my mouth is full of stars
awaiting a constellation
that will turn this love into
mythology to be mimed by
our children when they grow up

my mouth is full of forever
infinity tucked against my ribs
nestled against the curve of you
and our names are no longer
two separate worlds but one sound

(image by George Coletrain via unsplash)

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sing, unburied, sing

the truth crawls up my throat
my mouth shapes around it.
i taste the ashes of blk bodies,
they’ve blown in on the wind—
made my eyes milky with ghosts
who cannot rest with so much violence
floating underneath their skin.

i steel my tongue on their sorrowful song,
uncurl my spine, and wet my lips—
the truth comes pushing out,
its body small and blk.

too small to have seen a prison,
but life has a way of peeling blk bodies
away from their mother’s breast
to throw to the wild—
their only record of life left to the
tongues of old men and women.

(image by Nathaniel Tetteh via unsplash)

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your name is synonymous with music now

my days don’t feel quite right
if you don’t send me a song.
what else should i hear
while emptying my heart
of ghosts? my bones need
something that will burrow
deeply, and remind them that
home can be outside of this body.
and this body needs to remember
that men have died for the songs
of some women, so a moment of
shattering for you is a mere drop
in the oceans i have swallowed
while waiting for revolutions
that become my lullabies

(photo by Oladimeji Odunsi via unsplash)

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growth

sometimes, growing
is more painful
than the hurt
that got you there.

growing is claws
scratching at your skin
and chipping away
at your bones.

growing is spitting out
your lover’s name
like it was a bitter plum
with a seed too big
to even think
about swallowing.

sometimes growing
is cutting away
your favorite parts,
and mowing down
that tall grass
that so many men
have tried to peek through.

sometimes growing
doesn’t feel like growing.
it feels like breaking,
and you look in the mirror
and see more jagged bottle
than woman.
but you know that
all this breaking
and shattering
got to mean something
one of these days.

so you keep at it.
you pluck the words
from your tongue,
cut the roses until
your blood tastes
like honey from all the thorns,
and trim the weeds away—
least they strangle you
in your sleep and
you lose all that good dirt
you’ve been putting down.

(image by Oscar Obians via unsplash)

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what mourning looks like

the bed still smells like his aftershave.
the cup he used is still sitting on the counter.
his clothes still hang in the closet.
you still listen to his voice from
the last message he left.
there are pictures littering the floor.
your friends tell you it’s time to move on.
pack the clothes away—haul them off to goodwill. Continue reading what mourning looks like

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blk woman/holy woman

( photo by graham hunt via unsplash )

blk woman.
holy woman.
more soil than flesh—
hips shaking in the juke joint woman.
sunday morning high notes with
pot liquor and cornbread woman.
mothering woman.
chasing love in a field,
turning more scar than flower—
more, never less than woman.
yet, still seeing god woman.
you are here woman.

—you are holy, black woman

 

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Rural by Jessica Hite

dirt roads.
redder than the blood
that spilled to make them.
glistening dark skin
pressed against
rich, white cotton.

sunday picnic baskets.
the finest leisure day clothes,
black bodies drifting
in the summer breeze.

an orange rolled
every morning
by withered black hands.
a sweetness to cast off
the sour of sickness.

too many mouths;
not enough chicken
or eggs or vegetables.
only cents, instead of dollars.
the living not shared—only cropped.

anywhere but here.
pack up and head north.
where nigger is negro,
still bitter and stinging,
but manageable.

long car rides
to grandmother’s house.
ten kids to two rooms,
but we complain about six.

still dirt roads.
strange fruit has
rotted to the ground.
now bullets chase
black bodies
along with the summer breeze.