Featured, Poetry + Short Stories

If You Know You Know

Image: A digital illustration of a person in a bathtub. The water is a galaxy. Image by Teshika Silver.

Free Fall face flat on sheets

Stomach meeting mattress massage,

A deep sigh + a settle.

This is the downpour I mean

When I pray for rain


The presence of my healing
Is not the absence of my pain
My trauma live w me in the
spare room
But we ain’t the same.

She in the kitchen, barren fridge
I feed me for us both
She in my body and I dance her out
once a week.

Shake the sticky memories off my skin
Replace w honey in my tea
My trauma stay w me an I take care
a her too
Place her in porcelain tub for a spiritual
Prose, petals, water, epsom
Oil, candle, crying, cradling

Ancestors say let them stones go so I do
Say the power you been fighting for
already been in you

Sick queers been known isolation
fuck a pandemic
Been known skype static
like urgent care

known to mask in public
before mass production
know counting stairs + counting pills +
counting calm
Bed be galaxy
Breath be stars

Know meals at front doors
unexpected calls
we show up
mad bitches got enough shit to shift through
don’t always know what we need

Blessed be the spaces that’s safe to receive
Blessed be the friends that know us enough to choose
say “check ya mail”
      “check ya door”
      “check ya phone”
I sent sum’ for you

We lack nothing
Born of abundance
Know the blasphemy of equating mental health with maturity
know we owed praise at the very least
know a demon force of neurotypicality a mile away
know twitch/clap/trip/itch/over process pain
know the joys of connecting w a compatible fool

know the sainthood of a stim
know the sainthood of a stem
we all trees. branch thick
know our worlds is better than this shit
we been doin this shit.

– – –

Featured image: A digital illustration of a Black person in a bathtub. The water is a galaxy. Image by Teshika Silver.

Image: A photo of the poet Rise.

Rise (they/them) is a Black genderfluid disabled femme from St. Louis, living in Chicago. Everything is always changing and that’s what they love about themselves, their writing journey, and words in general. Currently, they write from the lens of a person deeply committed to their imagination. Imagination as home. Imagination as safety and protection. Imagine to escape for a minute, to cope.. Imagination to believe in world hella Black and Brown folks have been pushing for. Imagination as realism/magical realism. Imagination to directly say what needs to be said when the actual story is to hard to tell.