dezireé a. brown

record 10316.

no. this is not about

                            the crimson spilt – it is after.

once, I dreamed

                            my spine          cradled

Venida’s battered

                            body across this field

of glass, her hair

                            black oil           swimming

in my shoulders.

                            I held her tomb

of breath

                            in my iris:        dry,

burnt blue,

                            crumbled stone.

there are too many

                            names               now,

not enough earth

                            to swallow them         whole.

where      is Kalief?

                            I thumbed his blood

from her swollen cheek.

                             where is my

                                                     baby boy?


record 12758.

The sun drops its teeth
into a canyon.

I brew them with aloe
and vermillion

until horses crowd
the flame –

a nepenthe for tattered
nerve, ribbon

thin flesh. Carved tails
into the underbelly

of the earth. This is how
I find you in the underworld.

This is the trip every black
mother must take.


dezireé a. brown is a black queer woman poet, scholar, activist and self-proclaimed “social justice warrior” born in Flint, MI. They are currently a MFA candidate at Northern Michigan University, and often claim to have been born with a poem written across their chest. They are also an Associate Editor for Passages North and Poetry Editor for Heavy Feather Review. Their work has been recently published in the anthology Best “New” African Poets 2015, Duende, Crab Fat Magazine, Razor, Public Pool, and Luna Luna Magazine. They tweet at @deziree_a_brown.