Renee Christopher

cartography of a liberated body

on a muggy morning

the clouds hang low,

they shift         between the rows

of hyacinth planted long ago.

Humidity         fans     out

my hair, blended with the dirt,

in danger of rot

and my body settles in


to feed her babe           —exposed breast

and nipple to the suckling earth.

with a haze coming ‘round

the long hand of the clock

my thighs ripple in wait,

and wait

for the storm that my mother’s knees

always saw coming.

flung out are my legs               among the weeds,

separated from the top             of me;

lunging for the west, toes pointed north. and yet

my mouth, a bulb,

burrows itself,

teeth and all,

into blackened soil.


the leaving

is the hardest after you’ve borne witness

to suffering—you turn away,

helpless, a foot on your throat

and head

for home.



Bar Graph Analysis of Carefree Black Girls

protect amandla at all costs & stop defending raven-symone even though

she low-key still your fave. read up on Bernie & Hillary

& act like the GOP money don’t matter & follow jessica williams

on twitter & learn all the words to feeling myself.

be content with viola davis as the first black woman to win an emmy.

do all these things to celebrate being a carefree black girl

until tomorrow, when deray updates &

there’s another hashtag. a black man

shot & a trans woman beat to death,

black girl dragged by cops & blamed

in exactly the places you expect &

in places supposed to be safe,

like California or some liberal

college town where diversity is

welcomed but not really &

where we feel safe but

we not really &

try not to be

too angry,

don’t be







Renee Christopher writes poetry to banish demons and uphold the glory of authenticity. She’s pursuing an MFA at Iowa State an her work can be found at Words Dance. Follow her @reneesunok.

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