breathing was a lung-diamond, encrusted with a drowning metaphor

swarming urchins, coral-glistening, not dead, not white, not yet

so what needle destroyed this wet ghost, I’ve entrusted my closest friends

with a spindle, a wheel of all my bad decisions, here the line is long

a thread, thin around my neck, I couldn’t exhale even if you paid me.

This world wants me dead, but I cannot die, my brown body resurrects

Too many times to count, I’m bound my steel wire, wading deeply

In cold rivers, this nasty James River is choking out all my goodness

What innocence remains what white-tipped and pure

Though I couldn’t tell you what grew in the forest

Or what shiny new toy they put at my feet

Listen to the breathing          one          two          one          two

Choke out alibis, sift through white deities’ nerves

Their wings are silver-slicked & slicing my skin

I conjure up old verses, Spanish chants and curses

But here we go, they put the bag over my head

Burn the witch, burn the witch, queer embodiment

Of everything a universe missed in historical context

I’m lifting up out of the water

Pure, holy, un-disturbed, waiting for another moment

Before I finally catch my breath.

top photo by Tim Marshall on Unsplash

“What if we took all this anger born of righteous love and aimed it?”

—Ijeoma Olou, “We women can be anything. But can we be angry?”

ANGER showcases essays and poetry featuring well-aimed anger from femme writers, writers of color, LGBTQIA+ writers, First Nations writers, and disabled writers.