the GENDER issue / POETRY
after Nambi E. Kelley’s Jazz, after Toni Morrison’s Jazz
by Ra Malika Imhotep
violet spreads herself crimson
between the legs of a young promise
just city slick sweet talk
and the rushed plummet of a chosen love.
hot beneath her sash
chasin’ death right out
an old woman’s bed
and here, the would-be baby
falls into a suspension, a less than nothing
saturating the chest of annoyed lovers
and in the Change ain’t no more
choice. motherhunger rolls itself
out from behind memory
a daughter’s longing to forget
the mothers body cramped
in the damp narrow of a well
bleeding into all the water.
Ra Malika Imhotep is a black feminist writer + performance artist from West Atlanta. Currently pursuing a doctoral degree in African Diaspora Studies from the University of California, Berkeley. Her work tends to the relationship between black femininity, vernacular culture, and the performance of labor in The Dirty South.