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Night Hike

By Amanda Johnston

The Outdoor Afros guide promises our eyes will adjust.
Moonlight is enough to see the beauty in the dark.

Without entering the woods, I see our blackness
pull the grassy hem over our bodies.

We appear from behind trees, hands up 
covered in moss. We fit the description of dead leaves.

A mass of Maglite teeth cut branches,
startle the wind from our limbs.

Boulders clutch their earth. Pine trees
lean away from our path.

The moon, great witness in the sky, squints
us into shadows of what was and wasn’t there.

Added: Friday, April 22, 2016  /  Used with permission.
Amanda Johnston

Amanda Johnston earned a Master of Fine Arts in Creative Writing from the University of Southern Maine. Her poetry and interviews have appeared in numerous online and print publications, among them, Kinfolks Quarterly, Muzzle, Pluck! and the anthologies, Small Batch, di-ver-city and The Ringing Ear: Black Poets Lean South. The recipient of multiple Artist Enrichment grants from the Kentucky Foundation for Women and the Christina Sergeyevna Award from the Austin International Poetry Festival, she is a member of the Affrilachian Poets and a Cave Canem graduate fellow. Johnston is a Stonecoast MFA faculty member, a co-founder of Black Poets Speak Out, and founding executive director of Torch Literary Arts. Online at and @amejohnston on Twitter.

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