Omotara James


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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