you came to me last night in your four-year-old beauty.
eyes filled with melted sunflowers,
4B coils nested in the curve of your shoulders –
a flawless mixture of my kink and your father’s curl.

you shouldn’t be sad all the time mommy you said, but I was too absorbed
to provide an explanation. your aurulent skin adorned
in Harry Potter memorabilia, cloak    and    wand
with a lightning sticker taped to your forehead for security.
truly your mother’s daughter.

dad still loves you. he always has you said. I wondered
not about how you knew he and I had split
two weeks before, not if you witnessed
my balled up body in a corner of the lightless bathroom
with a bottle of wine between my lips,
only if you had seen lady aphrodite cradled
between my knees, her dank smoke an answer and an invitation.

even if he didn’t, I love you you said,
and I wondered if you had visited him in this same way;
taken him to your eternal sanctuary
of bratz dolls and basketballs, blowing open
the monotonous life of living without you.
baby he doesn’t deserve you, but I was in the habit
of forging forgiveness he hadn’t earned,
and you are your mother’s daughter.

do you think the invisibility cloak is real? you asked,
and thick laughter answered you. I never knew
the motion of lips spreading open to show teeth
could make me feel alive. I wanted to race
a marathon in my dreams, holding
you in my arms; I hate running, Aria.
but you are waiting for my answer,
patiently twirling your wand
in circles around tiny wrists,
so I tell you in another world, maybe.

I get it…sorta like me you whispered,
and I could feel doom               whirling
through my hollowed ovaries.

will you travel there with me? you asked,
and my head nodded desperately
because I could not bear to break you
or me.                 your father’s grin
stretched boldly across your lips,
and I shut my eyes to stop the ache.
baby your trust in me wasn’t justified.
my selfish drunken nights, Belvedere
tainting your blood like a weary omen;
the toilet flush, walk to class, pretend, wipe
you from my mind. it was your right to hate me.

mommy, please forgive yourself you said, and sobs
poured softly from my mouth
like the rain outside your window.


razor icondeziree a. brown is a black queer woman poet, scholar, activist and self-proclaimed “social justice warrior” originally from Flint, MI. They are currently an MFA candidate at Northern Michigan University in Marquette, MI, where they serve as an Associate Poetry Editor for Passages North. They often claim to have been born with a poem written across their chest, and their work has been published in Duende Literary Journal, Crab Fat Magazine, and the anthology Best “New” African Poets 2015.

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