MAMA VOICE, BRITTNY RAY CROWELL
you see, we all start out as haints. wispy
shadowy, vapory things—that part comes first.
when you think of them there, wading the ribs of the earth—
you have to think of yourself there, too
no matter that you’re above and they’re below.
it’s the same—like an hourglass—you’re trickling
down and they’re receiving.
it's all divisible, like silt from bone,
bone weakens, weathers, frets
down like a stick of chalk until it's carried off into clouds,
coats your hands like a silky thing you can’t pick up—
transfers off to all you touch, those you pine for—
and those you loathe. you have to believe
it’s happening to you even now,
in this very place you call home
Brittny Ray Crowell is a poet and artist. A native of Texarkana, TX, she earned a BA in English from Spelman College and an MA in English from Texas A&M-Texarkana. Recently, she won the Donald Barthelme Prize in Poetry and the Lucy Terry Prince Prize, judged by Major Jackson. A Best of the Net nominee, her poems and art have been published or are forthcoming in Frontier, The West Review, Mount Island, Aunt Chloe, Glass Poetry, Cosmonauts Avenue, and the anthology Black Lives Have Always Mattered. Currently, she is a composition instructor and a PhD candidate in Creative Writing and Literature at the University of Houston.