a literary journal published by the Black Earth Institute dedicated to re-forging the links between art and spirit, earth and society
I embrace my Indian sister of the Dalit caste sentenced to gang rape, made to walk the
dirt streets naked for her brother’s crime of marrying a woman of higher caste.
My chaste breasts tremble with terror before the elders’ slanted eyes.
I embrace the girl fondled by a Catholic clergyman, forced to blow the Eucharist of his
pasty cock. My silence shipwrecks on drugs and alcohol suicide, while the priest
sucks the coddled thumbs of cover-up.
I embrace the woman raped to draw ethnic boundaries—in Bosnia to cleanse, to birth
Serbian babies, in Darfur to humiliate and control non-Arabs, in Columbia to
punish rival gangs.
I embrace the child forced to carry a child, lover and daughter to a father. He
sneaks into my bedroom at night and lays his body over my dreams, swearing
girls like it, should suckle his blessings.
Me, too, my womb bearing the savagery of hate and ignorance, my cunt ravaged by his
fist, filthy nails. The hot whisper, I asked for it. And the cheap political rhetoric
by white conservatives in red ties who do nothing but legislate my body.
As for those conservative zealots, reject their lies. Stand against misogynists who
harass, heckle, rape, shame—who break my family into believers and
I know. I believe us.
Lindsey Royce earned a Ph.D. in Creative Writing/Poetry and Literature from the University of Houston. Her poems have appeared in numerous American periodicals and anthologies, including Cutthroat: A Journal of the Arts; Poet Lore; and Washington Square Review. Her first poetry collection, Bare Hands, came out in September of 2016 to strong reviews like Molly Peacock’s who called Bare Hands “a virtuoso debut.” Royce teaches writing and literature at Colorado Mountain College in Steamboat Springs, Colorado.