The Wardrobe’s Best Dressed: i love you and i’m not dead by Sade LaNay (fka Murphy)

June & Arthenia arrive in the Chariot

I wake up in the middle of the night T___T it is so inconvenient to be sad I want to be held and I am afraid of closeness. I think I miss Liz because she held me the most before Sheronda kept us apart. my ancestors are the dead too soon. Liz “forced” Rhonda to have me, she would not pay for the abortion. My journals got me in trouble. I had to write in secret. If Shay found my  journals–you fix your fucking face before I give you something to cry about–the way her hands would fly into me, an embrace that I cannot see coming–make me stomp a mud hole in your ass. ungrateful heifer what the fuck is this shit you’re writing? only thing you should feel is happy there’s food on the table. the way my feelings would bloom & tingle in my body they were real to me & I learned to be quiet. when I cried that made her angry so I learned not to cry, I learned to keep secrets. I would cry later in the back of the school bus with my head down or in a bathroom stall at school or with a book in bed at night. there were always books. I never allowed myself to laugh or smile in front of anybody. spent a decade on suicide watch. she can’t help it the girl can’t help it am I better now. my bones are made from ghosts, dead star minerals, planetary refuse. if death is the last reality we will encounter, it did not matter to me that she performed sex work to pay our rent or buy food. I was afraid of our neighborhood and ashamed of our shotgun house & I did not want to live. I did not understand her choices and I could only think of them as choices. when Fred Moten says “I am using an idiosyncratic definition of consent” in the  audience I feel that but I do not know what it means but I do know what it means. “I am the history of rape… I have been raped… I have been the  meaning of rape” I am writing to send Sade back to Sade: alonely girl who reads everything, who is looking for her self, who wants to believe a powerful love is possible && the world hardens me and softens me, I feel more porous than ever. I feel for her: alonely girl who gave birth to something she could not hold.

¹² June Jordan (Cancer, 1936-2002) Poet, architect, educator. Her papers are in the Schlesinger Library at the Radcliffe Institute for Advanced Study at Harvard University.

¹³ Arthenia Jackson Bates Millican (Gemini, 1920-2012) Poet, educator, scholar. Her papers are archived at the University of South Carolina South Caroliniana Library.

This selection comes from the book, i love you and i’m not dead, available from Argos Books.  Purchase your copy here! Our curator for this selection is Sarah Clark .

Sade LaNay (fka Murphy) is a poet and artist from Houston, TX. Sade holds an MFA in Creative Writing from the Pratt Institute and a BA in Studio Art and Theology from the University of Notre Dame. They are the author of ​Härte ​(Downstate Legacies, 2018) ​self portrait​ (Birds of Lace, 2018) Dream Machine​ (co•im•press, 2014) and the forthcoming ​I love you and I’m not dead​ (Argos Books). Her poems are included in the ​Bettering American Poetry​ and ​Best American Experimental Poetry​ anthologies.
Sarah Clark is a disabled non-binary Nanticoke editor, writer, and cultural consultant. They are Editor-in-Chief and Poetry Editor at Anomaly (, Co-Editor of the Bettering American Poetry series ( and The Queer Movement Anthology (Seagull Books, 2021), a reader at The Atlas Review and Doubleback Books, and an Editorial Board member at Sundress Press. She curated Anomaly‘s GLITTERBRAIN folio ( and a folio on Indigenous & Decolonial Futures & Futurisms (, edited Drunken Boat’s folios on Sound Art, “Desire & Interaction,” and a collection of global indigenous art and literature, “First Peoples, Plural.” They were co-editor of Apogee Journal‘s #NoDAPL #Still Here folio, and co-edited Apogee Journal‘s series “WE OUTLAST EMPIRE,” of work against imperialism, and “Place[meant]“, on place and meaning, and is a former Executive Board member at VIDA. Sarah freelances, and has worked with a number of literary and arts publications and organizations.

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