If we are gonna heal, let it be glorious.—Warsan Shire
is the body
broke the Black woman’s back.
is silence clogging up the peace
resides between shattered tambourines.
Lies “I love Jesus” barrettes and wooden beads,
fell through her fingers like dirt tossed on a small, pink casket.
she was raised,
the groundwater chipped at the leaves curling
Princess Tiana’s gown.
ashes of scorches stars and bars,
sulfur rises like dirty chuck taylor hi tops,
ashes of burgundy church bricks,
the basement stairs.
dust dancing in hurricane winds,
it rolls off of the countryside and concrete jungles,
dust gathering in every tear that will never be shed.
TOO MUCH LICORICE AFTER DARK
after Wendy Xu
The first time your tongue formed
the word dusk, it got tied beneath
the streetlight. You stuttered
the word the five times, and draped
Dali’s clocks on your shoulder blades like
a welcome mat that hates to say goodbye.
And when the world insisted the sun fell
before the streetlights came on, you
were absolutely positively fucking
smitten. The molar marks on your
tongue screamed infatuation,
filling up with floodwater, mucking
up all hope to hear your words with clarity.
Cowering from shadows into promises,
waiting for dawn to echo legitimate
light, an abrasive pale yellow
clearing out pools of sunset gold.
TYRA JAMISON is speaking from the intersections of Black, woman, young, artist, student. She's Pittsburgh-born, and Hill District-raised. This is what informs the lyricism in her poetry and the speculation in her fiction. Her poetry has appeared (or will be forthcoming) in The Underground Pool, Whirlwind Magazine, and These Black Midwives’ inaugural publication. Her writing has also appeared in the 9th Issue of APIARY Magazine. Currently, she’s pursuing her Creative Writing BFA at University of the Arts.