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 the GENDER issue / POETRY

mammy-made potion

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


no babies


just city slick sweet talk 

and the rushed plummet of a chosen love.

daughter-aged girl


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. 

Bed Cover Fabric

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. 

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