Khaya Osborne

soft black


i stand amongst a field of flowers

my dark brown toes push up gemstones from

the earth, extricated from their white python roots.


i pick them up and place them in my

cellulite, under my tongue, weave a crown

with them and braid them into my hair.


the sun’s rays catch them and twirl me

without my feet ever moving anywhere.

this is the closest i’ll ever come to being light-skinted.


the jewels absorb into my pores, scratching

against my teeth, infusing my blood with

glitter. they rest at the pit of my belly,

spinning on the tips of their toes.


i carry them out into the world, plucking up

daisies, jasmine, moonflowers, for their

names. no roses. roses we mourn with.


i step onto the concrete, leaving the field to

rot in fragrance, the hem of my white dress catching

grass stains. i emphasize my disco ball navel to people.


ask them to count the jewels, the holes, ask

for their soft fingers to touch my glowing carbon

tell them to be feather-light gentle with me.


as long as i got these colored rocks making

my skeleton an arbory, orchard, garden

of a dance party


i can walk the soil of this earth

and whisper to anyone


don’t hurt me



A God That Gives Breath To Be Stolen

He is white. He wants to fuck

everything. He only accepts tithes

in body cash, run red from holes

—holy ATMs, prayer unheard

until too late. Right before gate,

Hell is poplar. Hell is noose. Hell is

strange fruit. and God




to eat.


Khaya Osborne is a 17-year-old poet and actress born in Berkeley, CA and currently residing in Elk Grove, attending Franklin High School. Ms. Osborne has been writing poetry since she was in the second grade. Her work centers primarily around charting the existence of being a black woman living in America, although topics such as mental health and coming-of-age have been known to Charleston themselves from her fingertips–transitioning into a frenzy of Historical references, extended metaphors, homages to soul food, and jazz connoisseurship–onto her notebook pages, ending in a pirouette of humanity.

1 Comment

  1. Hi Kari,
    Enjoyed reading your poetry. I think you’re very talented and I believe you have great future ahead of you. Keep writing.
    B. Hattisburg

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