Kathy Z. Price’s power offers an overwhelming barrage of imagery that cascades… or maybe careens… through the four stanzas of her poem “The White Negro Girl’s Diary” which will appear in issue 90.1/2 (after sitting in my inbox for way too long).
Check it out below. Check out more from this issue here. And if you like what you’re reading, consider subscribing or submitting something to us (although we’ve pressed pause on poetry submissions for a while to allow us to catch up with our backlog).
The White Negro Girl’s Diary
Fields vagrant as crows one will die pass for what, not white. dry as a psalm one will burn feed the raven to peck out your eye throw something in the grave that won’t return in the middle of a sermon she suckt blood out of a cut sun drew sweat from her young girl body in her mouth a beautiful snake & screamed only living virgin in Ezra her tongue caught in your throat had tired of johns and their red eyes walked on these hot roads to come to this on her knees naked for the very first time or so she said provided what every preacher must have clear water & weeping to refrain from blood peace is it peace
Go without shoes shine on a boxcar, a risen chrism, eulogize lovers who betrayed you, to find their way back to beauty, paint your lips through a night of djembes made from the bones of guitar-plucking skeletons, midnight runs soft between our fingers, cry turmeric and brush it off the armpits crouching outside Hades stick her shadow to the front door quartered like the woman mounted on the windowless window, wishing she could run back to Deuteronomy go to bed at eleven watch the dead bury the living witness Cerberus laughing at the yogis, spiraling in downward dog, Mississippi on your back
Blessed is the beating of the fallen bark, the twisted limbs of the star-leaf trees, found her in the dark, moistened his hands over hair, her clothes follow, he declared a victory over this , carrying pails on their heads, a pound of tea leaves to read after cool water under a trellis the jasmine came the jessamine, the catalpa came, the bloodroot and life everlasting came sweeten well water with whiskey, myself in a circle corn cobs burned to ash so the lilies will rise, the moon was new then, blessed is the linen washed in the blood. old man, not even the fading milkwood will forgive you
It is past time for prayers that don’t remember.
Kathy Z. Price is a recipient of a New York Foundation for the Arts Fellowship in Poetry. She’s also a Hedgebrook and Edward Albee Fellow, a recipient of Archie & Bertha Walker Poetry Fellowship at the Fine Arts Work Center Provincetown
Recent work was published by storySouth, and more work is included or forthcoming in TriQuarterly, Rumpus, Cincinnati Review, Bayou, Pleiades, and Prairie Schooner among others.