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peril + power

by DW McKinney

peril + power​

We met in our only-ness. One Asian. One Black. Both bristling in the hostile awareness of our cultural barrenness.  Our conversations skipped from the coded language we spoke in our hushed office spaces and buzzed across the electronic waves dazzling the atmosphere. I cannot remember if I was drawn to you or you to me, but our kinship was inexorable.


We clattered with fury. Anger spewed from your mouth and your fingertips in uncontrollable rivers that gushed from sunrise to moon’s set. The contents of your mind gathered like a churning rage that frightened me. But when I searched my own, I discovered the same distressing tides. History is littered with these familiar portents. Our forebears once gathered together in protest and, as such, the unflinching hatred of our skin has long been looped around our necks.


We healed in our togetherness. You and I, we emptied. It was a sorrowful sight; all that pain spilled across the universe. I cannot pinpoint when we shifted from brokenness to becoming a mosaic of hardened spirit. But we shed the scales that failed us. We reclaimed the menacing fright of our heritage and harnessed our deprecation. We were warrior women, black and yellow.


One day we laughed in our freedom. And we have never stopped.

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DW McKinney

DW McKinney lives in a city of neon and booze in the desert. Her writing primarily focuses on blackness, motherhood, and pop culture musings. She is the 2018 Hellebore Press Scholarship Honoree for Creative Nonfiction. Stoneboat Literary Journal, TAYO Literary Magazine, Cagibi, HelloGiggles, and others have featured her work. She enjoys hugs and orchids. Discover her interviews at or tweet her @thedwmckinney.

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