Two Poems

Khadijah Queen

Mostly to uncover the reality of my soothing brand of sickness

I called a dangerous man my husband and something inside me loved it, loved the way each day he killed me a little more, killed himself a little more. There were ways of believing everything he said. Sometimes it meant folding my thoughts into tight squares with sharp edges that nicked my tongue as I held them underneath. Sometimes it meant hiding parts of myself in pissy alleyways and abandoned parking lots where they got slept on and rained on, pushed around in shopping carts or made a doorway on some tired body's flimsy house, so that I ended up a vagina with half a heart and no deep breaths. He never wanted or missed me but he wanted to, his brutal attachment burning the inside of me like an etching, toxic and harsh in its carefully planned beauty. I almost believed I could take it. One day I thought I couldn't fight anymore and then a sudden shift: I hustled a latticework of craving between blows. I unlocked my chorus of archetypal women from their chains. They rubbed their raw wrists with aloe and set to work.


Mostly to uncover the reality that I give myself a seed

He smelled my sweated yellow sheets and said I had lost my voodoo. He said I needed to get South, more South and said I should never go home even though I am being sent for

       In my dreams I punch his face in until he has no face

      I tell myself to run

Khadijah Queen is the author of Conduit (Black Goat / Akashic Books 2008). Her poetry, three times nominated for the Pushcart Prize, has been published widely in journals and anthologies. A visual artist and Cave Canem fellow, she has performed and exhibited her work around the country. Visit her website: