Camisha L. Jones


The law wants my body reasonable
My body won’t fence in its demands
Expects the world to stop
Whenever it wants to lay down
Throws up its middle finger
At deadlines, task lists,
Long awaited meetings
It ain’t open to negotiation
Wants you to stop telling it to
Calm down
It has three settings: rest, spark, flare
All that talk about your inconvenience & your hardship
It calls that Bullshit
It will not wait in line
It will not be polite
It will not use its inside voice
It wants all the space
In every room of the house
The entire sky & the full lawn of grass
It wants to set it all aflame
My body is a pyromaniac
My body is the art
Of Angela Bassett’s right hand
Letting reason go up in smoke




In the shower
The sound of water
Is crisp as a
Head of lettuce
Split in two

Then fading
In the morning
When the running sink
Becomes a whisper
In someone else’s ear

Daily I enter and exit
This turnstile of
Here/hear and not here/hear

Press my way through
A downpour of sound
Divorced from meaning

I stand between the words
A mediator
And sometimes a barrier

There is sweet song
Birds chirping
A tune with no lyrics
Keeping me company
In the silence

Which isn’t really silent
Or quiet
But static
& loud

Coupling & uncoupling
With comprehension

The mouth of each syllable muffled

Language is an ocean
Of murky water

Words sinking
Into buried grains of sand

A tide coming
And going

Calling me the shore
Calling me thousands of particles
Stretched wide

Receiving what the waves bring
Surviving what they take away


Praise Song for the Body

Praise for the body that takes pain and names it survival. That drinks anguish without ruling it bitter. Contains the daggers of sickness and bends them into a good home, a shelter, an escape route. Call this body miracle. Call it sanctuary. Name its ghosts but refuse to believe it is haunted. Refuse to give up on hope and all of its helium, its elevating power to raise this weighted vessel into a thing of light.