The bodies we live in: poems from the margins


Brown Love | Canela López

Our humanity is fleeting.

Together, it builds, grows.

Our ancestors chained, eradicated, exterminated.

But we thrive.

Humanity stripped, bodies attacked, existence devalued.

But we thrive.

There are no devils in our bed.

Safe haven, built of white sheets, soft pillows, warm caresses.

Together we are reaffirmed

By making love

That was never meant to be.

Our passion is a kaleidoscope

Of warm browns, deep tan, sweet caramel colored skin.

In the heat of ecstasy,

Dioses despiertan.

Process of elimination | Zahra Saifudeen

My bones

crack as I bend over backwards

to perform my capabilities

to strangers

My shoulders

pop out of their sockets

as I pull and am pulled

to meet your intersectional needs

My feet

bleed from the miles

of toothed

terrain that you force me to walk every day to class

My hands

ache after picking up the

same mess

you make every day.

My caramel skin



as you steal my rich, brown shade

I hear the cracking sound of my bones

another tuesday | Ella Helmuth

you said it’s so fun living inside your head

and I know you’re joking because I have a feeling it is not

but personally I would love a couple of days in there

move the furniture around, tweak with the health anxiety

you woke up in the middle of the night with your chest hurting

(because you smoke too much and you know)

and wondered if you should wake her up

wake me up without a second thought

hey baby something’s wrong, mm

and I like to think I would assure you that honey you are not having a stroke

and interrupt your protest by placing my mouth over your mouth, shush

my ear to your chest to make sure everything’s in order in there

I dream about you climbing a crane: the machine, not the bird

baby don’t fall and you’re laughing because you half hope you do

you have no good memories from your sophomore year

I have you

I told you in your farmer costume you’re the most beautiful person I’ve ever met

and I know you didn’t believe me but I think that’s hilarious

because have you ever checked out how god damn right you look in overalls?

I bet you taste like Alabama soil

you weren’t even mad to be abandoned in my sorority house

ten feet from where I leaned in to kiss you with some straight up 4am bravado

and oh man did you dodge but you still keep inching closer

apologizing when our feet touch

My Home is Not Here and it is Not There |  Xulhaz Mannan

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