Runner-up for the 2021 Auburn Witness Poetry Prize judged by Jericho Brown
We know how to play the part, been trained our whole damn lives. They can be the father
and we the naughty daughter. They’ll pretend to love us and we’ll pretend to care. They
major to our minor, all jive and ill-advise. They husband we knived, they knife we wound,
they fuck us for a buck, they cheat us, maltreat us, and swindle as we dwindle down to droop.
They be the surgeon to our un-sedated patient, the cop pulling us over for a traffic stop. We
hands over head, we tits up on the bed, they ashore we asea, they sea-air we hull, they heave
we hoisted, they itch we heisted, they throw we pitch, they buy we sold, they lord we slave,
they alive we died, they head we ho, they home we less, they gun we flesh, they cock we shot,
they rock we scissor, they scissors we paper, they papers we never had.
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MAURYA KERR is a bay area-based writer, educator, and artist. Much of her artistic work, across disciplines, is focused on Black and brown people reclaiming their birthright to wonderment. Maurya’s poetry has been nominated for a Pushcart prize, and has appeared or is forthcoming in Blue River Review, River Heron Review, Inverted Syntax, Oyster River Pages, Chestnut Review, Mason Jar Press Journal, Harbor Review, and The Future of Black: A Black Comics and Afrofuturism Anthology (Fall 2021). Her chapbook Tommy noun. was the Honorable Mention winner of Vallum’s 2021 Chapbook Award. Beginning fall of 2021, Maurya will be a UC Berkeley ARC (Arts Research Center) Poetry & the Senses Fellow.