- POETRY -

THE ONLY ROOMS I OCCUPY ARE EMPTY

 

Omotara James

ISSUE TEN | SPRING 2018

at my annual appointment

 

when i’m asked to disrobe

and talk about what’s happened

 

with my body. you see

everyone travels through

 

some sort of prison   atsomepoint

 

 

in the shower, I travel to the far regions

 

to forget

her predilections

 

for internet gore, theway

she’d question me

 

about the rape. thesteam

choking my throat, never mind

 

its effect on the skin. anyway

what is fire until it burns you,

 

but comfort

 

 

at the theatre

 

i don’t watch Tyler Perry movies

bc i was the only girl in middle school

 

with the-color-brown skin

bc students & teachers assumed

 

so where in Brooklyn

when Brooklyn meant brownskin

 

bc my parents paid full tuition

 

bc the adults insisted

 

bc the well-intentioned white people suggested

 

bc the cool girls said I

 

bc all the boys, yes all the boys knew

 

I should be grateful

 

 

maybe, when a fat black dyke is president

 

 

Optimus Prime, the Tooth Fairy and White Jesus

walk into a bar…

Omotara James writes and lives in New York City. Her poetry chapbook, Daughter Tongue, was selected by African Poetry Book Fund, in collaboration with Akashic Books, for the 2018 New Generation African Poets Box Set. Her debut, full-length collection, Mama Wata, is forthcoming in 2018 from CCM Siren Songs. For inquiries, visit www.omotarajames.com.

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