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Tuesday, 11 February 2014


– for inessa

take that ghost of a slave girl body

living inside your ribcage

fling her far as you can

from that whipping post

i don’t mean the actual post

in some hot-as-death clearing

under some peeping-pallid moon

where the moss hangs

in banners of baby nooses

i mean: don’t walk yourself

to the middle of a choking white

where you can’t see

how fine your face is

how robust your voice

when it pierces through a circle

of silent buzzards waiting

to take your flesh like gold

there is no other way to tell it

you will hurt in river deep places

you will dream doors inviting you out

onto plantations of skin

you will wake at least once

to the messy shadow of a black man

dangling outside your window

and close your curtains tighter

against the familiarness of it all

but here’s what: you’ve got a beehive for a brain

let all those humming thoughts of yours

make honey out of your nightmares

don’t do no death dances with your ghosts

don’t get all stuck up in the salt wounds

of some old as church fester

take that stinging sticky mess

of slave girl bones

make yourself a rattle

then shake shake shake

shake yourself loose and be off

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Mariama J. Lockington has over thirteen years of experience working as a K-12 educator in the nonprofit sector and currently works for the University of Kentucky’s College of Education. She enjoys teaching hands-on writing workshops and speaking with young people about their stories. Learn More