dear sis

by Mariama J. Lockington


“it’s smelling blood in your breakfast, learning to say fuck with/grace but learning to fuck without it/ it’s finally having a man reach out for you/ then caving in/ around his fingers.”  - from “What it’s Like to Be A Black Girl (for those of you who aren't)” by Patricia Smith


if a white man only reaches for you in the dark

if he brings you in through the back door


sneaks you into his car under a faulty streetlight

he wants only to try on the obscurity he believes


you are made of, to steal an alchemy

he will never fully be able to harness, he wants


the tangy fruit of your lips without the consequence

of your family tree, he wants you quickly


secretly, he wants you on your back

& then on your soapbox, but only when it makes him


an ally or a god, he wants you natural       unruly

tangled in his hands, but only so he can rest safe


in his own hunger, so he can tell you sweetly, after

“ you, you’re different—you speak so well.”


so he can bend you like a sapling, re-discover your currents

your kinks, call it: America!


every white man who ever loved me, wanted my silence

more than my words, wanted me to unfold before them


as freshly laid tar, sticky & glistening in the heat, every white man

who ever fucked me did it with a curious guilt, a tender


terrible rage & i must admit     i liked it

the way i could disappear myself under


the blinding moon of a body, enter my own pleasure

float above & watch this man try and territory all of me


all the while from some rooted, stinging place believing:

this is what i am meant to hold


telling myself, keep your XXX



sis, here is a truth i have stumbled on:

love is not leaving your body behind for ruin


it is being so full of forceful edges, hard shine

not even the the thickest, whiplash of a winter can take you out


it’s pushing your heart-muscle out, into the light

through a rib-slit the size of a tobacco seed


it’s your whole skin, alive & hurting     good

your whole self cracking into movement, your mind


a factory of humming blades

slicing the rising sun into greasy gold pieces









Mariama J. Lockington


                                             contributor 2016 second edition


Mariama J. Lockington is a queer writer, educator, and transracial adoptee who calls many places home. She is the founder of the womanist project the Black Unicorn Book Club and is published in a number of journals including the Washington Square Review: Issue 36Read America (s) Anthology, Uncommon Core: Contemporary poems for learning and living, and The Comstock Review. She currently works as a grants coordinator and lives in Lansing, Michigan with her partner and their dapple-haired dachshund, Henry. You can find more of her work here.