Poetry: Three Poems by m mick powell

day, too, is a thing changed by time

you hope no one ever calls your death a senseless act of anything. he who kills you will do so out of raging passion. you will die knowing you were always right; you knew it would be him. and it’s politically incorrect to correct the dying. that you are included among the dying is something a teenage version of yourself would never accept.

coincidentally, you say this to no one who finds it coincidental: everyone you’ve loved is made of river water, those converging tributaries. you’ve got pretty good at swimming, at holding your breath, at having your body hooked and then knifed and then used for its oil. you bled through your panties and on to the bed sheets because you didn’t know it was coming. this was forgivable. you never asked. you made breakfast.

you made plantains.  you called them plantains because you were afraid to use your grandmother’s language. you cupped pink  champagne  in your palms and watched the bubbles die. you read your horoscope, ate the platanus. you refreshed facebook and email and snapchat interchangeably for six minutes straight. you thought about fucking someone you’ve never thought about fucking before. you wondered if you could survive a social media hiatus. you wondered if you should change the sheets.

the horoscope said: “you’re due for a love letter.” ok here it goes: without you, i’d be dead. this is a sad truth you dedicate to your bong. you’ve been accused of excessive infatuations, miniature obsessions, photographing the plants before they’re ready to be seen. there’s a picture of you from middle school in a white dress with pink glitter pressed into a cursive pattern. all night at the school dance, the glitter grinded into your skin.

there is a picture, too, of Ma with washed hair and Pa in a white shirt, arm about her waist, a burning joint coming close to his lips. once, he cut a straight line into her throat. here, the scar beneath her chin. once, he took her to a bordertown and pressed a loaded glock to her forehead. once, she says, he made a chicken dinner, poured a glass  of  white  zin, learned to dance batuque in her mother’s living room. once, she reminds you, he pulled a splinter straight from your palm.

monarch in the jasmine tree

i do my friends a favor by taste-testing their edibles. they are not worth mentioning, which is to say they are suitable. we spend the entire evening talking about kink and fetish, the merciless choke, blunt bruises on the back of our hands, lackluster poems with Very Good Titles and their correlation with click-bait. poor fish. poor french fry. poor christmas tree losing green on the streets of a city i’ve seen demolish an entire girl. an entire girl i loved, too. some kind of luck. some kind of karma. me and all my past selves in all my past lives have spent eternity burying you, you fucking zombie, you monster eating moonlight outside my window. if i know no biblical stories to give to my daughters for hard times, will they suffer as i have? i have chosen myself, my hands unjeweled. i have chewed my nails into perfect squares. we eat grease with our blunt-bruised hands, my friends and i. we touch each other’s bodies with them, sway to the song about sugar and bedpost and desire’s dangerous hold. i hold them up to the light. lately, i am less jealous of the way florida produces fruit. each morning i rise and position my body in front of the sun.


the morning after my vibrator died midway thru / versace on the floor got me surprisingly & insatiably wet in the lyft / got me feeling teenage & girlish in all the wrong places / this has always been the curse i’ve carried / its hideous rot / its gorgeous thunder / every tree on the way to new haven looks the same / threadbare / too close together / just another part of the universe / submerged in snow / there is a proverb about tree roots / or maybe a metaphor / i forget / the time he tried to kiss me / after we chaperoned the prom / until this morning / in the lyft / i remember / how he mouthed himself / into noble / into nice-guy / god / it’s exhausting / the music-less-ness / the unproud glare / body spinning around the beam / the magic trick / the dark & glittered eyelid / the chromatic acrylic / ::: / here i am / today / escalating into the wet earth / until i see it / god / every time i touch myself / i feel like i am fucking a ghost

About m mick powell

m mick powell (she/her) is a Black queer femme feminist, poet, and professor of women’s, gender, and sexuality studies. keep up with her at www.mickpowellpoet.com and @mickmakesmagic.art.