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 Oct 2021 Saleendra Lee-Ann
You see my brown skin
And assume I'm a ****.

You see my hijab
And assume I'm a terrorist.

You see the smile on my face
And assume I'm happy.

You hear my words
And assume I'm okay.

But I am not.

Instead I am broken.
Yet I am also strong.

I am dark and rule-following.
I am peaceful and Muslim.

You assume based on
Society's POV.

If you smile
You must be happy.

Fox, CNN, any media
Tells you I am a terrorist.
So the names I get called
And the extra security checks
Are extremely upsetting.

The murders of black folk
Is either considered appropriate
Or it's "black on black crime"
So it's not taken seriously.

Who are you gonna believe
Me or those who don't know me?
This is how she feels...
Sitting under the swaying willow tree in her backyard...
Painting on her arm with her sharpened paintbrush...
She paints her feelings until she can see no longer because her eyes have become rivers with the strongest current she's ever known...
The teardrops that run down her face are reminders of all that has been said and done to her...
Her mother leaving in the night, her father screaming that it was her fault, all the boys who'd touched her...
No friends has she ever had so she sits by herself creating beautiful paintings using crimson red...
She hears a noise, so she looks up from her exquisite painting to see a boy with eyes the color of the deepest ocean...
He sees her painting and starts to cry...
Running towards her he grabs her paintbrush but it is too late..
The  painting is her final masterpiece upon which her one last tear falls...
He sits with her, screaming for help until his voice becomes raw...
He knows that no one will come but still he screams...
The beautiful girl before him has lost all her color and death has plucked her from the boy's grasp...
All that's left of her color remains on her forearm in the most beautiful painting the world will care nothing about...
I mistook you for a glass,
When I poured all my love
Into you
like icarus
i was too close
and felt too much


and burned
                            a   w        a              y

and now
                 there is nothing left
you are the soothing hum
the grass stains on my jeans
the summer in my hair
the color in my cheeks
you are the the constant wave
beating against my heart
the warm honey on my lips
the paint on my nails
you are the perfect dance
and a moonlit ride
the sticky vanilla cream
you are the flower in my palm
the reason I smile
the chills down my spine
you are more than you'll ever know
you are the love of my life
Ten black crows
in a red-budded
cottonwood tree
basking in the eerie
glow of the waning sun
bruised, livid sky
weighted air
waves shush, shush
on the receding tide
serenity reigns
but I can feel it
hovering offshore
a curled fist
wound tight
ready to strike
 Apr 2021 Saleendra Lee-Ann
I'm sinking farther into the sea
Air cut off, unable to breathe

But it's not all too bad
The water's warm
and the fish look nice

It's a shame I can only see this
By myself
at the end.
Both can ****
        The only difference is
                      Cigarettes shatter lungs
         She shatters everything

            I remembered the first moment
my lips pressed the filter
     as I lit it up breathed it all
                savored every smoke
       as if we covered up painful lies
        in a container of painkillers

The same way  
we used to pressed our lips
     sparked something between us
           savored every moment we had
    as if our love was a rose
               in a valley of tulips
Lick the words
from my lips
let them slide down
your throat
like fruited jewels,
   dark, hard candies
   that melt into cream
a healing liquid  
oozing into my
pumping milky beats
out through
           your cells
permeating the deep
of my wild
My syllables will
   wrap themselves
      around your syntax
frothy hybrids
of buttered silk
                and irony
conversations that
flow into the ether,
as heaven's night
endlessly begins

We twirl our tongues
into guttural utterings,
lustful verse
that glides from
slick-fervored ice
to an outpour
                    of lava
We feed each other
our saliva like honey
dripping with dawn's
tender glow
as we open up
like baby birds,
begging to be nourished
at all costs

in this lingual forest
Your breath finds a home
on my tastebuds,
my tongue
in your
In between the tumults
of our
exploding oceans
     is how we
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