2 POEMS by vanessa maki

the deep end

we both cannon balled/into the deep end/ without life jackets/ i can't swim so before we jumped/ you promised me/ that you would keep me afloat/ which is why i dived in/ as i sunk to the bottom / those promises flickered out/ like water giving sloppy kiss to a flame/ i only went to the deep end for you

haunted houses

somebody needs to come over/so they can tell me/ why it all has to be on my shoulders/ why must black girls/ have to hold the world up by our pinky fingers/ then provide amusement/warmth/tenderness/why do we need to live in haunted houses?/entertain or soothe our ghosts/can we actually be alive for ourselves?/ can we actually live where there is life?

vanessa is a writer (& other things) who is queer & full of black girl magic. she's been published in enclave, faded out, rag queen periodical, occulum, five:2:one magazine, SYS, horny poetry review & is forthcoming in sorority mansion & the cerurove. she founder + editor of yell/shout/scream & rose quartz journal. twitter @ahumantornado.