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Cheyenne Marcelus

All the weapons in my Afro

I’m at the airport and I’ve been chosen 

for the infamous Afro search,

the great despotic pat-pat up and through and over me;


I hope they don’t find my spell book,

I hope my gris-gris doesn’t fall to the floor and spill.


I hope they don’t find the maps or the photographs,

the recipes or the cane sugar,

deshelled peas or the rigid parts of the collard greens.


I’m holding my breath hoping the TSA agent won’t find the airbrushed

rest in heaven t-shirt or the bones or the bullets;

not literal bullets, more like wooden beads and song lyrics,

aluminum foil and hot grits.


I hope the vinegar won’t spill;

I worry that the whiskey might reveal itself or that the agent will recognize

the smell of fabuloso,


but I doubt it.

Happy for real

When’s the last time you were real happy,



laughing loud in public happy

running around outside barefoot and nappy happy


like watermelon that you can’t eat inside happy

Quit running in and out! Stay in the yard! happy?


When’s the last time you were fish fry happy

Jig-a-low         jig        jig       a low happy

last night of vacation bible school happy


snowball with the ice cream happy

toe touches on a trampoline happy


I’m cooking red beans and rice today happy

Please ma, can I stay? happy


a pickle from the penny lady happy

a brown paper bag full of candy happy


beads with the foil at the ends happy

My cousins be my best friends happy


riding bikes in the sun happy

passing notes just for fun happy


when’s the last time you were done getting yo’ hair combed happy

downloaded a new ringtone happy?


Ain’t even know how good we had it,


Cheyenne Marcelus is a Black American poet and writer from Columbia, Mississippi. She is the author of Good to Me: A Poetic Journey to Self-Acceptance and Self-Preservation. Her work is featured or forthcoming in Eve Poetry and Spillwords. She is a former Southern Regional Winner and State Finalist of the Mississippi Poetry-Out-Loud Contest. She resides in Ottawa, Ontario with her husband and son.

Issue 6.3
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