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Voices: A Choir of Blackbirds


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Dominque Christina was voted “Best Poet” in our 2015 Best of the West celebrity poll last month. After reading this poem, you’ll know why.D

The blood of black women is unremarkable.
Window dressing, you might call it,
For the horror show of lugging around
A body built for a funeral.

Marissa met a man who
Killed her in fractions
Parceled out her flesh
Like some maggot-ridden doll

Every weekend he sawed her in half
The incredible disappearing lady
Pummeled under his ordinary hands
She put herself back together each morning

Owned her hunger
Like cattle waiting to be eaten
Kept blood clots like small children
Obligingly heavy with a broken man’s hell

But dragons will pretend to be lambs
Monsters will pretend to be men
Marissa kept passing by her own red heart
Her wings fastened under his boot

Quiet daughter dreary with quiver
An unrehearsed life,
An imaginary mouth
Terrible heart in a crowded house

Her blood a choir of blackbirds
She tunneled her own deathbed
Became the tourniquet
Her fists a stone corsage

She practiced the end of him
Her favorite good night dream
Unflesh the monster and
Leave the lights on…

She fired a warning shot.
The only grace left in her
An SOS signal to other women like her
Fighting for their water to break-

What can a brute do with an ocean?
What good are his fists to the rising tide?
He is no more a man
Than a woman a flea

For swatting
Marissa, and her unoiled bones
A sudden sacrament of steam
And water won’t wait for you to learn its depth

It will salt your unlearned body
Christen you conquered,
Bury you mercilessly
Beneath it’s cold, wide skirt.

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