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Blessed Be

By Niki Herd

the black body            found
next door     near the house      where
the blind girl     lived

Blessed be

togetherness     the act of
intercourse or intersection      billy
club      to skull            knife
to gut              hands   noosed
around     a          neck


Blessed be       praise

Blessed be

the length        of a feather        in a church
hat       or the tension    of a chord
held in the throat           of a black girl   belting
out      amazing grace               over     a
body              now gone


Blessed be       the body now gone

Blessed be       the seasons

Blessed be       summer winter spring

Blessed be       place

Blessed be

the black body           found
in an alley      behind       that fashionable street
with those cafes         on its sleeve


Blessed be       time

Blessed be       how the moon cuts itself in half

Blessed be       the body now gone

in the time                  it takes
to place spit     to finger           to take
this page         and turn

Added: Thursday, April 30, 2015  /  From "The Language of Shedding Skin," (Main Street Rag, 2010). Used with permission.
Niki Herd
Photo by Jennie Scott.

Niki Herd earned degrees in Creative Writing from the University of Arizona and Antioch University. Nominated twice for a Pushcart Prize, she is the recipient of fellowships from Cave Canem and the Virginia Center for the Creative Arts. Her work has been supported by the Astraea Foundation and the DC Commission on the Arts, and has appeared in several journals and anthologies. Her first collection of poems, The Language of Shedding Skin, was published by Main Street Rag in 2010 as part of the Editor's Select Series. She currently lives in Washington, DC.

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