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by Khalisa Rae


Today I left a space,

So white bodies could inhabit more comfortably. I got out of my seat so white family could sit in my place. Today I accommodated a white body. No, thank you. 

I am often accommodating. 

Today, a white family stood behind me. Pressed against my back. I was expected to leave, never asked. Should have planted my black body. Instead, my black body was sorry. 

Today, I was an apology. I apologize for my presence, and no one says thank you. I apologize for my presence often. I get cut off. I end up apologizing. I am pushed past, walked in front of. I say, Sorry. Excuse me. No response. 

Sometimes, I go to white spaces, plant myself, 

just because I know I am not welcome there. 


Khalisa Rae

Khalisa Rae is the author of the Sable Books poetry chapbook, Real Girls Have Real Problems. Her recent work can been seen in Requiem Magazine, Dirty Chai, the Tishman Review, the Obsidian, Anchor Magazine, New Shoots Anthology, Red Door, Red Press – Anatomy of Silence Anthology, among others. She is a finalist in the Furious Flower Gwendolyn Brooks Poetry Prize and a winner of the Fem Lit Magazine Contest, and the Voicemail Poetry Contest. She is a former staff-editor of the QU Lit Mag, Creative Director of Athenian Press, and is currently finding a home for her full- length poetry book, entitled Open Cannon: Voice of a Southern Femme, for publication.   

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