Ghost in a Black Girl’s Throat

In this collection of powerful poems about racism and sexism, Khalisa Rae juxtaposes seemingly opposite images to convey a landscape complicit in inflicting pain even when it offers something resembling a blessing. The image of an oak in the title poem illustrates how the cool respite taken beneath the tree on a hot day can’t be separated from the tree’s horrific association with lynching: “We spin a web of shade and make it/a place to rest under—broad oak that it is.” In Southern Georgia Libretto I, “Feet bleed like sweet juice/gushing from that Georgia peach.” And writing about the termination of a pregnancy in the poem Morning Glory, Rae ends with “I wish I knew of Morning Glory/how it can be a surgery and baptismal/all at the same time.” There also are gorgeous poems about the ache for release, including Wind DanceWind Watching, and Moving Mind. The suggestion in Wind Watching that maybe Dorothy (from the Wizard of Oz) welcomed the tornado is rendered so beautifully: “The swirl approached and she went/willingly. Threw her head and arms back, and let it consume her.” Ghost in a Black Girl’s Throat is available here.

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