Issue No. 20 | Spring 2019

White Man’s Religion

If I was fearfully 

and wonderfully made

then my skin should 

be deemed a blessing.

Locked cars, clutched 

purses, cross the street,

do you go by another name,

paid to play not to think,

leave your bags at the front,

you speak so well?!, felon

of a drug now legalized by the state, 

crooked cops with straight shots, 

no dreads no braids no curl no kink, 

wonder if these little 

children hide behind

their moms fearfully.

Smooth tongued serpents 

spit the words of the (a)lmighty 

and justified our chains, 

black backs broken

under the lash 

under the law

under the flag

skin split open, blood

mixing with the dust 

this preacher said (g)od

scooped together to 

make me wonderfully.

Reflections in the mirror—

squinting to see the eyes of (G)od.

In the Morning

In less than ten minutes,

a poorly printed

questionnaire in exchange

for a prescription to 

numb the numbness I couldn’t feel. 

Have you ever taken this medication before? 

Three months earlier,

I tested the strength of my

melanin by dragging a knife 

across my wrist; trickles of blood 

assuring me I was dying.

No, I haven’t. 

Two milliliters syringed 

into a cup of orange juice 

to hide the taste as I waited 

for my neural synapses to 

make the right connection.

Let us know if you have any questions.

Weeping may endure

for a night, but

what if joy doesn’t 

come in the morning? 


Joylanda currently resides in Virginia with her blind cat, Stevie, and non-blind cat, Blackjack. She has considered adopting a dog, much to their horror. Her poems are featured in Lamp and Rogue Agent. She can be found on Instagram @itsjoylanda.