Rigorous
Volume One, Issue 3



Starr Davis


86 Days

My sister climbed in bed with me, her body full of milk water
and baby inside her stomach that she doesn’t want

She, 17 and me, 14
baby is 86 days of fluid and fantasy

I watched her tears flood the moon
her mouth, open and her womb, ready

The next day she gives me the ultrasound picture
the only picture of god that I own

What did they do with the baby
did they toss it out into the sea

The milk inside her breast turns into white sand
I want to cut her open just to make a castle

My sister climbed into bed with me we both dream we are on the beach
dead fish, washing up on the shore




The woman with the issue of black

1. Her inheritance is black blood, twelve years
resurrection and flesh 2. she wears her skin,
as garment 3. Her pigment, is a love language.
Her mouth, has ten tongues inside a prayer
no one can translate 4. her hands, thick enough
to touch the sun 5. her eyes, see god for the first time,
wearing nothing but oil 6. melanin stains his coat,
leaves a desperate print of fear and acceptance.
7. He says to her,“Power doesn’t wash off.”


Woman with the Issue of Blood, in book of Luke chapter 8:48. Woman who bled for twelve years, touched Jesus’ garment and was instantly healed by her faith.




Some Mistakes

sometimes I speak to god
on accident, mistaking him for myself,
my teacher does this sometimes, to the other
black girl in my class, mistaking her for me, it
is a common mistake, sometimes this is a
compliment, most times it is offensive.
my black is mines, but sometimes I
mistake my black for my mothers
black or my grandmothers yellow
for my good hair, or my daddy’s blue for
my discrimination, sometimes it
makes little sense to differentiate,
mistaking black to be any other shade
than black is like mistaking noon
for midday, sometimes the clock
changes our minds, and sometimes I sit
in hours that don’t belong to me, I
do this with love, and sometimes it isn’t
fair, other times it is survival. I borrowed
my last boyfriend, sometimes you stumble
upon a loan, most times, you don’t. my debt
is sweet, and sometimes I want him back,
mistaking want for need is sometimes worse
than mistaking freedom for slavery, but
sometimes it is okay to be free to love
and a slave for love, or maybe this
is another mistake.




Today, God

I am liberated and focused
on what it means to govern myself.

I am not watching the news
or wearing a bra.

I will not question America
to see where it was last night,

I was sleeping with a cold fact,
that didn’t want to cuddle, after.

Today, God I want for nothing,
not even the love I have been praying for.

On the train, I won’t offer
anyone my seat.

I am old and hurting,
young and disabled, today.

No one ever moves for me,
the flag outside my building, barely waves.

At work, they will call me the black girl
and I won’t answer, but I will clock in.

I will sit at my desk, with my legs open
and my mind crossed


Starr Davis: "I am a poet from Columbus, Ohio currently residing in New York City as an MFA Candidate of Creative Writing at City College of New York. My poetry has been published in Kalyani Magazine, Lipstickparty Magazine, and The Promethean. I work as a Creative Writing Mentor for Writopia, a nonprofit organization for children throughout NYC. I live in the Bronx, NY.




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