Wish for a working machine
and you’re given a body.
Ask for options and you get
a life with no roadmap and
free will. Say, Give me a reason,
and what you get is silence
or wars continents too far away
to care without exertion.
If you say yes to knowing,
dispossession flowers in you,
and cleaves to your progeny
for centuries. If you wish
to forget, there are pills
with mild side effects –
dreams that grab you
by the throat and pockets
of fear that separate you
from your skin. If you sing
hymns the gods of memory
might waken and strike you
with elegies for your unguarded
heart. Ask for love, and the sky
will unveil itself layer by layer,
its naked blue flame wanting
only your blindness in return.
This selection comes from Lauren K. Alleyne’s book, Difficult Fruit, available from Peepal Tree Press. Purchase your copy here!
Lauren K. Alleyne is the author of Difficult Fruit (Peepal Tree Press, 2014). She holds an MFA in Poetry and a graduate certificate in Feminist, Gender, and Sexuality Studies from Cornell University, and an MA in English and Creative Writing from Iowa State University. Alleyne’s fiction, non-fiction, interviews, and poetry have been widely published in journals and anthologies such as Women’s Studies Quarterly, Guernica, The Caribbean Writer, Black Arts Quarterly, The Cimarron Review, Crab Orchard Review, Gathering Ground, and Growing Up Girl, among others. Her work has earned several honors and awards, most recently the Picador Guest Professorship in Literature at the University of Leipzig, Germany, a 2014 Iowa Arts Council Fellowship, and a 2010 Small Axe Literary Award. Alleyne is a Cave Canem graduate, and is originally from Trinidad and Tobago. She is currently the Poet-in-Residence, and an Assistant Professor of English at the University of Dubuque in Iowa.
Mari Hailu is a recent graduate of Southern Methodist University where she simultaneously received a Bachelor of Arts in Music and a Bachelor of Arts in English with a concentration in Creative Writing. Winner of the faculty-nominated 2014 Margaret Terry Crooks Award for Outstanding Creative Writing, and the David R. Russel Poetry Prize, Mari is grateful to be able to share her words with her community. She is a Managing Editor of The Wardrobe, a blog series affiliated with Sundress Publications, and in her spare time she enjoys playing music at local venues.
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