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SOMETIMES THE TIDE IS SO LOW, YOU CAN SEE THE STEEPLE

by Porsha Olayiwola

                                                                                When Lake Lanier was formed in the 1950s, it washed over
                                                                                              Oscarville [a predominantly Black town] and turned it into
                                                                                              an underwater ghost town. -Anjali Enjeti

 

 

 

 

nothing burns more radiant         than the bible

of a hell-bent preacher       the gleaming sunday shoes

               of a little girl                        and a cross pitched

on the lawn.       Martin and Malcolm could tell you

 

plain from the apertures in their chest:       gut

the sanctuary first—        prey away

                apostles—          salt the tongue to sever the wings—
blaspheme the orishas.                  god is always

 

the most necessary to destroy.       crucify
and become history’s cursed lover.             drowned

               town hex—           the night riders’ reaping.    man-made

lakes belong to their holy ghosts.                vengeful

 

deities understand                             the spire of

the church            is just the good lord’s          dagger.

Porsha Olayiwola is a native of Chicago who writes, lives and loves in Boston. Olayiwola is a writer, performer, educator and curator who uses afro-futurism and surrealism to examine historical and current issues in the Black, woman, and queer diasporas. She is an Individual World Poetry Slam Champion and the founder of the Roxbury Poetry Festival. Olayiwola is Brown University's 2019 Heimark Artist -In -Residence as well as the 2021 Artist-in-Residence at the Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum. Olayiwola earned her MFA in poetry from Emerson College and is the author of i shimmer sometimes, too. Olayiwola is the current poet laureate for the city of Boston.