Monday May 27

JacquiGermain Jacqui Germain is a poet, writer, student organizer and Pushcart Poetry Prize nominee currently living in St. Louis, MO. Her work has been published in Muzzle Magazine, Anti-, Word Riot, and elsewhere. She has represented Washington University in St. Louis on five national poetry slam stages at the collegiate and adult level, and was chosen for the Katherine Dunham Fellowship with the St. Louis Regional Arts Commission in 2014. She enjoys studying the histories of people of color, fighting oppressive political structures, and generally having little to no chill. Her first chapbook, The Bones, the Salt & the Water, will be published through Button Poetry in 2015.

Questions For The Woman I Was Last Night, 1
                   after Kush Thompson, after Warsan Shire

When you picked apart the white of his knuckles
to see if his white was different from all the other
white, did the black girl ghosts scare you?

When you closed his palms and his lips
closed your throat, did you see the audience
of dark shoulders sitting by the stairs?

When you sighed under the white crows
of his supple fingers, feasting (but also just
decorating the sky), did your moan
lullaby the dead black girls to sleep?

Once they were asleep, did his teeth
feel like maybe they could pop your black
open and tongue it off your bones?

How soon afterwards did you fall off
the bed and begin writhing on the carpet?
Did this man stand over you
watching your spasm?

How quickly did your swimming
arms wrap around his ankles? Remind you
of an alter quaking beneath the
weight of all that fresh sin?

Did your arms wrapped around his ankles
make you feel maybe like a sexy wet dream
white boys tuck beneath their dicks?

Did your arms wrapped around his
ankles suddenly give the false idol a face
and a neck that laughed at your lust?

How quickly does this positioning
betray? How quickly do
his ankles betray? His grin
betrays? How black girl do you
feel? How quickly does
your back on the carpet scratch
or soften your peeling spine? How soon
does your flesh de-bone itself, does your black
cough out its own teeth?

Questions For The Woman I Was Last Night, 3
                   after Kush Thompson, after Warsan Shire

How are you still unable
to make your pelvis a bible?

How do you substitute addiction
for addiction for giving up
your history in shame’s mouth?

How do you become a glutton
for pain and still blame
the dinner plate for being full?

How is your mouth a city lost
beneath the sea and really just
a wet grave at the same time?

Is your mouth really just a mass
burial for the burning sheets?

Will the burning sheets become your
body’s swaddling clothes damp with moving
flesh? Will you arise come morning?

Do your hands push through
the fabric like stretched skin?
Do you fight it? Do you ever
fight or does the smoke calm you?

When you wake up smelling
like a burnt house, melted plastic
and appliances, do you
tell yourself you will rebuild?