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Khadijah Queen

Years: 2007, 2008, 2011


Khadijah Queen holds an MFA from Antioch University Los Angeles and a BA in English from University of Maryland. She is the author of a poetry collection, Conduit (Black Goat/Akashic 2008), and recent work appears or is forthcoming in jubilat, In Posse Review, Powder: Writing by Women in the Ranks (Kore Press 2008), Fire and Ink: An Anthology of Social Action Writing (2009) and Best American Nonrequired Reading (Houghton Mifflin 2010) among many other journals and anthologies. Her second book, Black Peculiar, won the 2010 Noemi Book Award for Poetry, and is published with Noemi Press. A three-time Pushcart Prize nominee, she curates the multicultural, multi-genre reading series Courting Risk.




Unravel your hurts at night.

Unfurl them, sacred flags,

And hoist them

Above your body, of course

You are alone.

Even when another's breath

Guides yours, glides

Airily into you, you are alone.


Believe there is only one.

Accept it as the most

Forgotten of all truths.

Even in the arms


Of marigolds, one. Of course

You are alone. Unravel

Your hurts at night.

Hoist them, little postcards


Against a blooming sky. Count them

As they float back down,

Cover you, fold them and tuck them

Like kisses under your skin,


Masks of afternoon,

Tender as the leaves of limes.

Of course you are alone.

There is no mercy


Except that which you grant yourself.

Even alone, even at night,

Your body covered in cempoalxochitl,

In the thriving pain that has unpacked you,


Tricked you, turned you inside

Out, there is no mercy except that

Which you grant yourself. Unravel your hurts

At night, your body singing black corridos.