by Sa Whitley

(for Sandra Bland)


Bring jumper cables. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .

Attach them

to the positive and negative ends of my battery.

Run black oil

against the drive belt of your vocal chords.

Remove the filter.

Show them your hands black against the world,

calloused as you

steal access to my stalled gears, how stuck,

the cables gnawed

at like the veins of carrion. Un-tighten the dead


bolts under

the hood of my civil forfeiture. I am not done


I am not done running: I am nobody’s junk.

They will have

fucked up my transmission. Rewire the electric

route to the

hoarse yet powerful engine. Help me purr again

my young purr.  

They will say I cannot be revived, nor revved

back up.

They will say, too many miles on that black girl.


on your tool belt will be, gonna be alright. Something of

possibility in our

manual for black life. They know nothing of my model,

my make,

my mattering, nor dream wild enough to even care.

Be my mechanic:

come drive me the hell away from here.




Sa Whitley


                                                                contributor 2016 second edition


Sa Whitley is a PhD student in Gender Studies at UCLA, where she also received her Master's African American Studies. They also received the Galway Kinnell Memorial Scholarship to attend the Community of Writers poetry retreat in July 2015. Originally from Silver Spring, Maryland, they are a Black queer feminist activist who enjoys gardening, baking, and Motown. She currently lives in Los Angeles California and organizes with the Undercommons, the Black Infinity Complex, and a working group on "Academic Abolitionism." They have published work in Toe Good Poetry.