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Heaven?

By Lauren K. Alleyne

           --  For Sandra Annette Bland

Where does a black girl go
when her body is emptied `
Of her? And her wild voice,
where does it sing its story
when the knots of history
make a grave of her throat?
What of her future, blue-      
broken, unmade? Her name,
—say it!—Sandra, unhoused;
her dreams and memories
lost to their source. Where
does a black girl’s love go
when her heart is snapped
shut like a cell door, the key
out of reach as any justice?
And what unimaginable
gift is lost when a black girl
is made a body, her light
dimmed into shadow, gone?
How many angels weep
when a black girl is torn
into wings?

Added: Friday, September 9, 2016  /  Used with permission.
Lauren K. Alleyne
Photo by Rachel Eliza Griffiths.

Lauren K. Alleyne is the author of Difficult Fruit (Peepal Tree Press, 2014). Alleyne’s fiction, non-fiction, interviews, and poetry have been widely published in journals and anthologies such as Women’s Studies Quarterly, Guernica, The Caribbean Writer, Black Arts Quarterly, The Cimarron Review, Crab Orchard Review, Gathering Ground, and Growing Up Girl, among others. Her work has earned several honors and awards, most recently the Picador Guest Professorship in Literature at the University of Leipzig, Germany, a 2014 Iowa Arts Council Fellowship, and first place in the 2016 Split This Rock Poetry Contest. She is a Cave Canem graduate, and is originally from Trinidad and Tobago. Alleyne is currently the assistant director of the Furious Flower Poetry Center, and an associate professor of English at James Madison University.

Other poems by this author