Reclaiming Our Phenomenal Bones
We left them on the back stoop,
abandoned our phenomenal like baby on step
for anyone to pick up and call their own.
I think we tucked it under our tongues
let it dissolve and melt away.
The taste of it still lingers.
I think we spread our phenomenal across beds,
in the backs of cars where we opened it for anyone who said
the magic word.
Think we smeared it on counters and couches,
made it a jam or marmalade to lick-
a temporary satisfaction.
Woman, you have been everlasting & phenomenal
since the beginning of time,
since the Nile and cradle of civilization
Your phenomenal bones were found as proof that we were once here
You have bought nations to their knees,
stretched arms and bosom wide to nurture thousands,
opened mouth and made even the most powerful cower.
The click of our heels have been the syncopated tone
for soldiers that follow our every stride.
We have always been a phenomenal destination-
brown stone thighs, a hand-crafted cathedral of a waist,
sweltering temple lips,
a museum of a mind,
we will find our phenomenal
when we stop looking
and just be.
Khalisa Rae is a queer black activist, that speaks and writes with fierce rebellion. She published her first book Real Girls Have Real Problems, in 2012. Her recent work has been seen in numerous journals including, Requiem Magazine, Dirty Chai, and Tishman Review, the Obsidian, Anchor Magazine, New Shoots Anthology, Red Door, Red Press – Anatomy of Silence Anthology, among others. She is a finalist in the Furious Flower Gwendolyn Brooks Poetry Prize and a winner of the Fem Lit Magazine Contest, and the Voicemail Poetry Contest. She is a former staff-editor of the QU Lit Mag, and currently serves as Co-editor and Co-Director of Athenian Press- literary safe space collective and indie press for women/femme/gnc/trans folks. Her full-length poetry collection is forthcoming.