Brionne Janae

          after Evie Shockley

trims sight
white sighs
gripped tight
time drips
white lies
like spikes
if white
why white
since white
sin slides
sings knives
white rise
white kill
kids die
if white
is right
is might
whip’s strike
is prize
is inside
sit still
wills white
white will
sip silt
sip lye
die die
white cries



Steady Your Hands Brother

neck deep in the muddy bottom
I too have seen the walls of the pit rising
and been strangled by the clay we are made of

I have known the body to hum its release
and stare down death like a lover

you can only draw perpetually near
though she slay me yet—

I know the desire for flight and flight
and have seen the wings on my demons
I imagine they are familiar to you too

we are the fucked up children
momma cursed our father for giving

soon you’ll have scars to match my own
till then steady your hands brother
cauterize your wounds—live



Brionne Janae is a graduate of Emerson College’s MFA in Poetry, a Cave Canem Fellow, and Hedgebrook Alumni. Her work has been published or is forthcoming in The Academy of Amercian Poets Poem-A-Day, The American Poetry Review, Plume, The Nashville Review, Waxwing, Sixth Finch, jubilat, Redivider, Rattle, and the Cincinnati Review among others. She was also the recipient of the 2016 St. Botoloph’s Emerging Artist Award. Her first collection of poems, After Jubilee, was published by Boaat Press November 2017. For more information about her work please visit my website at