Two Poems by Khadijah Queen

From Anodyne

August 19, 2020  By Khadijah Queen

“Ode to 180 Pairs of White Gloves”

smacking that ass
making a phat beat
(the thinking man’s Beyoncé
endlessly sketching
Isaach de Bankolé)

O hair as urgent bulletin
cosmic drifts of hair
emitting important information
O untapped talents and salted bravado
a syntactic turn-on

a paragraphic chasm
stirring up hallucinogenic
invader magic
resembling a hoarded apocalypse
of fetishized resistance
against a corridor of wounds

O honeypot hand in a real
busy honeycomb
watching the bees
suck on brown girls’ legs—sharp
like hustlers       or suicidal stargazers
O pink lips first pulling on a Kool


“I Have a Method of Letting Go”

Asthmatic child in a house full of smokers, I crawled once
under toxic clouds to find my mother

I was so brave I almost died, or desperate

I wanted her more than breath
I was so small & she could sing
anything alive, almost

She didn’t really know, doesn’t know now—

She is familiar with duty & made me so
I can’t live on that loss

In 1977 a bullet turned my brother into dust
His 18 years here, an invisible talisman we hold in our callous living

Sometimes I think my mother smoked to pretend to breathe him in


anodyne, Khadijah Queen

From Anodyne by Khadijah Queen. Copyright © 2020. Reprinted with permission of the publisher, Tin House Press. 

Khadijah Queen
Khadijah Queen
Khadijah Queen is the author of Conduit, Black Peculiar, Fearful Beloved, Non-Sequitur, and I’m So Fine: A List of Famous Men & What I Had On. A finalist for the National Poetry Series, the Balcones Poetry Prize, and the CLMP Firecracker Award in Fiction, she is an assistant professor of creative writing at University of Colorado at Boulder, and serves as core faculty for the low-residency Mile-High MFA program at Regis University.

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