What the Mirror Said

listen,
you a wonder.
you a city
of a woman.
you got a geography
of your own.
listen,
somebody need a map
to understand you.
somebody need directions
to move around you.
listen,
woman,
you not a no place
anonymous
girl;
mister with his hands on you
he got his hands on
some
damn
body!

– BY Lucille Clifton

Wild Geese

You do not have to be good.
You do not have to walk on your knees
For a hundred miles through the desert, repenting.
You only have to let the soft animal of your body
love what it loves.
Tell me about your despair, yours, and I will tell you mine.
Meanwhile the world goes on.
Meanwhile the sun and the clear pebbles of the rain
are moving across the landscapes,
over the prairies and the deep trees,
the mountains and the rivers.
Meanwhile the wild geese, high in the clean blue air,
are heading home again.
Whoever you are, no matter how lonely,
the world offers itself to your imagination,
calls to you like the wild geese, harsh and exciting —
over and over announcing your place
in the family of things.

– Mary Oliver

Lost

Where does the story of us begin?

Where does it end?

I swear I didn’t mean to scroll through every picture on your page

But I was looking on their page and they tagged a picture of you that reminded me of us

and down the rabbit hole I went

Where does the story of us begin?

Where does it end?

I loathed every picture of us

clicked “right click” “delete” so many times that my index and thumb went numb that last night

My heart was numb that last time

I wanted to erase you,

forget I ever loved you

Forget love

Now I frantically scroll

Through for

Traces that you loved me once

We were this happy, weren’t we?

What was this thing I was looking for outside of your arms?

What was it again?

The words “moved on” do not matter

I have “moved on”

You have “moved on”

We have moved on but what do I do with the piece of your heart I’m left holding?

What did you do with mine?

Every time I see you I’m taken right back to that place

That first place

The party

The introduction

The knowing you weren’t my type but not being able to hide the curiosity anyway

The sense that you could build me or break me with a sigh

Now you hold a woman who strangely looks like you

She is not beautiful

But she has your smile

You both smile in that guarded and disarming way I came to love and abhor

Have you moved on?

At the end, I only thought of the bad times, the trail of disappointments and never enoughs

Tonight I wonder what would have happened if I had turned back around that last night

What would have happened if I hadn’t thrown the bracelet in the trash right in front of your eyes?

What would have happened if that anger, the cruelty, that fear hadn’t…

Where did our story begin?

How will it end?

Does it end because you are now hers?

Even though I think of you sometimes?

What is an end when your face still lives behind my eyelids

When my fingers still find your page, time and time again?

What is an end when the beginning is just a click away?

– SOO

Myself

I will always want myself. Always. Darling, I wrote myself a love poem two nights ago. I don’t know where you get this from but I am whole; woman who grows flowers between her teeth. I tend to my garden. I dance myself out of pain. You think women like me crawl for pity? You ever seen the offspring of a lion eat grass? This wanting of myself gets stronger with age. I host myself to myself. I am whole.

– Ijeoma Umebinyuo

This Land Is Yours

You

Sweet you

America is for you
Brown beauty

Lost in the wonder of this world, bright and new

America 

is for you too
And you

Brilliant you

America is for you
Even when you are 

made to feel ashamed of your hue

Remember my sweet

Whatever you do  

America is for you too
At times it may leave you questioning, confused 

But America

This America is for you too
Your claim to it is as solid as theirs

No matter what they wish were true

America 

Yes, America is for you too
Never bow your head in shame

Do not cower when they call you names

You belong here

Your roots are deep

You grew from this land that so many seek
Space and fortune

Time and chance

All came together in a provident dance

All conspired to give America you

In this era

In this space

In this time

In this place
You breathe one breath

In joy and strife

You make America, America

It owes you its life
Your fates are interlocking 

pieces of one 

A beautiful tapestry, 

woven and spun 
This place called America

Battered and brave

Was not fully America 

Until the day you came 
Claim it

Know it

Savor it too

This glorious America belongs to you

– By SOO

the depths of my heart

I could spend my whole life trying to earn favor, earn love.

I could search the world,

ravish the depths of my heart

for some shred of worthiness,

but there is none to be found.

I could never hope to be worthy of the love that is shown to me…worthy of the grace that’s been given.

I know my own tendencies towards sin, my own lust after things of this world.If not for God, I know I would be the worst of sinners. I know I have it in me.

If you see any goodness in me,

if you see any worthiness in me,

any loveliness at all,

know it is because of the loveliness of Christ

– soo

for women who are ‘difficult’ to love.

you are a horse running alone
and he tries to tame you
compares you to an impossible highway
to a burning house
says you are blinding him
that he could never leave you
forget you
want anything but you

you dizzy him, you are unbearable
every woman before or after you
is doused in your name
you fill his mouth
his teeth ache with memory of taste
his body just a long shadow seeking yours

but you are always too intense
frightening in the way you want him
unashamed and sacrificial
he tells you that no man can live up to the one who
lives in your head
and you tried to change didn’t you?
closed your mouth more
tried to be softer
prettier
less volatile, less awake
but even when sleeping you could feel
him travelling away from you in his dreams

so what did you want to do love
split his head open?
you can’t make homes out of human beings
someone should have already told you that

and if he wants to leave
then let him leave

you are terrifying
and strange and beautiful
something not everyone knows how to love

– Warsan Shire

Let those who love you love you

Let those who love you love you
Let light shine through yonder window
Through darkened night
Into the deep and locked away place in your heart

Let those who want you have you
Stop
Breath
No more chasing after shadows of what if
Turn around
Meet the one running towards you

Let what is yours be yours
Like the timber of his voice
The soft and woody smell of his shirt that lingers
Let it warm you
Remind you that, while it may not be so all over the world,

In this corner of brick and steel

In this patch of cotton and spice

You will always be worthy of love

-soo

Ancient

I want to go back to the days when I thought 30 was ancient,
when the best part of my week was crispy crust pizza day,
when nothing mattered but this place,
this moment.
There was no longing for better.
Better was already here.
There was no questioning if someday.
That someday had already come.
I was certain I would be something, when the time came.
I was never anxious,
never uncertain,
always bold.
I wish I was as cool as I was at 7.
I wish I was as certain as I was at 12.
I wish I could silence the fear that I might never amount to anything at all and remember the days of counting down to snowfall and crispy crust pizza
and knowing everything would turn out alright.

– soo