Interior Image

Anastacia Renee Tolbert

Years: 2007,2008 and 2009


Anastacia Tolbert is a multifarious mix of grit, sunshine, alphabet juice & butterflies planted in Japan. She is a writer of poetry, prose, plays, and journalism. She wrote, co-produced and co-directed GOTBREAST?, a documentary about women and body image. Tolbert is a Cave Canem Fellow, Hedgebrook Alumna, EDGE Professional Writers Alum, and VONA Alum. Her poetry, prose and nonfiction has appeared in Women Writers in Bloom, Saltwater Quarterly, The Drunken Boat, The Poetry Breakfast, Women. Period, Essence and San Diego City Beat, as well as in the anthologies Cave Canem XI, Alehouse Journal, Things We Lost, Reverie, Check the Rhyme: An Anthology of Female Poets & Emcees (nominated for the 2007 NAACP Award), Hair Piezes, and I Woke Up and Put My Crown On: 76 Voices of African American Women.


Temporal Extent of Recollection


a pastel memory of a girl

chalk it up.

to trauma.

what i hear/see/smell makes me. amnesia.

what happened/what didn’t happen


a pastel memory of a girl

& me. us. running.

we know. we can’t play. like other girls.

sorta like jail. safe from them.

we joke. say get us out.


a pastel memory of a girl

brown. i am brown. our browns are different.

similar. her mother calls us chicas.

my mother only smiles. from a distance. say get us out.what happened/didn’t happen. we are safe.


a pastel memory of a girl

running. from a distance. lights out. we are both 13. see who has the biggest tities/boobs/ta-ta’s

so proper why do you say breast?

tell what happened. to us. them. our mothers. our crying siblings. get the binky. change the diaper. wrap them up keep them safe. 


a pastel memory of a girl.

chica. blood. took the knife______because________

& my mother said run because__________

snatched the______ .ran to the pay phone with______in my arms. the police picked us up. stay _______safe.


a pastel memory of a girl

from a distance. sort of like jail. beige halls. trash can base.lady with the big key. hotline duty. play care volunteer. are you it? one butterscotch left. split it. pray for corn pops. because i hate peanut butter & powdered milk makes me sick.


a pastel memory of a girl

we are both 13. we like clothes. we like music.

lady with the big key. humming lady lets us sit in her office.touch of color. lemon yellow. same trash can.sing. we are the world & raspberry beret


a pastel memory of a girl

wake up. my girl. white dress. braided hair. gone.

one butterscotch left. split.

leave me here with ammonia & peach comforters.

her mother a zombie. returning to the dead.