East Fork:

A Journal of the Arts​​

Can you hear me?

So concerned with what I do
But never took the time to hear me
And I mean actually hear me
I speak, but I don’t feel heard.
Never took the time to heal me
And I mean actually heal me
I hurt, but I don’t feel safe.
The only time I hear from them is when they want something from me
Never want something with me
Only things against me.
The only time I hear from them is when they have something to say
But not much of anything to say
Only things against me.
They try to read me like a book, but the words are disfigured.
They try to pull me in but there’s nothing keeping me there.
There’s nothing they can offer me anymore.
Sometimes feelings fade.
Sometimes people fade.
Sometimes I fade.

​Brianna Williams


I am Black that much I know.
Oh yes, I am Black, because they
Told me so.
My words are not to be heard,
I am not fair.
I have the right to be defined by
Brown eyes,
and curly hair.
No, my eyes don’t belong to me.
These eyes see what they see.
My body
is not my own.
It’s His temple, it’s what I was told.
Constantly I chant, “Oh yes, you can!”
And now
I shall not allow this temple,
Be defined by a man.
I am Black that much I know.
Oh yes, I am Black, because they
told me so.


His body against mine is both like a pile of sand and concrete
Heavy is the weight of the love he has for my body, and soft is the touch of his lips on mine
His cowardice makes me itch, why doesn’t he just love me?
His smile is like a baby on my chest
It fills it with anxiety so heavy that I wake gasping for air
--------desperate to break away from the snare I allow him to tangle me in
Yet it is comforting, knowing that I hold that smile so tight against me
I gave him the one thing I was taught was most valuable about me
He opened me, like an eager child opening a present on Christmas morning
---------So naïve, and aloof about the care it took to wrap it so beautifully
Again and again I return to be torn into pieces, but I wait until the paper machetes of my heart
have been repaired with glue
Which is no match to the adhesive that sticks me to him
Thin and cracked like the trust I have for men, for any man that is not him
For him
He is the floor that the breaks glass, and the wrecking ball that demolishes my soul
He tears through my heart like lions tear through the flesh of their prey
Like such an abused thing, I come back to him eager for more
Eager for more weight, eager for him to tear into me, teeth sharp, and claws bared
--------Eager for him to suffocate me
Eager for him to bleed me out as I have let him so many times before
And eager he is to do it again.