Today's poem is by Allison Joseph


I'm a big city girl and a small town woman,
able to speak patois in a drawl, attracting
both hustlers and hicks with the blank

open beauty of my face, a cynic turned sucker
turned goddess, voluptuous with envy, regret.
Don't tell me you don't sec me in my

hand-me-down dresses and brand-new shoes,
don't claim you can't hear me because this
isn't where someone dark as me should be.

Better believe I know how to infiltrate,
how to translate the gasps of language,
keen for the first notes of sirens, wails

others mistake for music. Here to explain
you to you, I upend all cherished contradictions
about brown hips and curves, thighs and edges,

inches lost, gained, flesh I joyously retain
while you lavish your tongue on skin
that's not mine, spurning what's both

foreign and home. I am so you that I'm
not you, so when you bump into me
on this crumbling sidewalk, you'd better

say my name right, each syllable a sacrament,
blessings only our multitudes can contain.

Copyright © 2016 Allison Joseph All rights reserved
from Multitudes
Word Poetry
Reprinted by Verse Daily® with permission

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