Rigorous
Volume One, Issue 3



Dorsía Smith Silva


Facing It

For a week,
I edge past my students,
remain certain to pour off their stories
of seeing another black body being broken
like the dangling tread of a driven car
sprinting across a herringbone pattern.
I fear that some think these bodies were meant to be hurt,
twisted and spun like barbed wool into a comma of rivulets.

And as we come undone,
seeing their points sharp and shaved,
waiting for them to peel our layers strip by strip,
the human heart hisses.
The moment cannot fold over,
slip into another world,
or be wiped off like sweat.
It’s too hot to the touch,
too binding to the pores,
rocking the body with wounds saying occupied.
I pause, not knowing how to pass this spillage to its rightful owner,
for the duration.




In the Land of This America

I try to find the future for my people in The Making of the West,
but they are locked into empty pages—
with too many patched-up edges
and hideous roots,
separate thick fields
crashing into broken footholds.
I ask if freedom is etched in that branded ink.

I wait,
knowing the full weight of the selected criteria
for your murderous claims,
beasts that roam in fear’s name.
This is a sickness that cannot be controlled,
cast off as a byproduct.
But you claim the hunger,
load the remaining noise,
sort through the veiled promises,
 which you know mean nothing to me.


Dorsía Smith Silva: "I am an Associate Professor of English and my poems have recently been published in POUI and the book Mothers and Daughters. I am also currently editing two books."




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