Three Poems


By Rachel Godfrey

Image: “Arthropod,” by Sara Wallace-Lee, 2016.


your skin begins to fade and you cannot feel pain

it is ugly
but i was told that the afterlife would be beautiful
being drained of my color seemed
a death so magical
it would break my own heart

i think of this:
denzel doing malcolm doing a conk
i think of
watching him praise and sway in the name of the white beauty lord
i think of
knowing that burn all too well
chewing the skin off my lip and playing it tough
my kinks burning from the chemicals of the [ironically named] relaxer
i think of
not thinking of
the dead flesh left behind
lies in lye

my skin was fading
and i could not feel pain
no barbed tongues
scraping their tips past my ears
with sinful whispers of “good/bad hair”
i thought i saw light in a burdenful darkness

my skin was fading
and i could not feel pain
but lord
why did it hurt so much to die this way



i had sex with ivan
4 times, for 3 weeks
it took 1 time to make me feel wanted
and that feeling,
the need to be wanted,
is dangerous
because it blinds you

for about 45 minutes each, on those 4 lonely nights
i was able to forget about
broken friendships
hating my brothers
not having a home
starving myself
not having a father
all I had to remember
was to look said ivan in the eyes
and moan
and have “fun”
and feel
hear the staccato procession tune
of ivan
and me

I tried to force a broken spirit back together
but sex
could not stop the sadness in me from erupting unpredictability
breeding chaos

I am no longer fucking ivan
because he talked too much
and said too little
and all I wished for was



waits for me at the end of the tunnel
we are friends
i am never afraid

he can be certain that i will arrive to the party
and I can be sure that he will not cancel
i trust him

it is hard to come by friends such as he
who will take me into their arms
no questions asked
no judgments made
no matter what i have done
or who i will become


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