(image: mandam, up is down, shadows near lake como)


after Umbrae’s character

All of Us won’t stick with me –
Umbrae’s laugh will.
Suspended in the dark
– she was stuck in a tree,
not cause no one could reach her, not
cause she’d climbed – she was thrown //
and the branches were
in her way like she was
in the family’s way – the tree
had been nurtured,
and so, strong.
And so it could
steady catch her by her
middle. Umbrae was stuck maybe
cause the family hadn’t
touched much on rage or life –
though they’ve had much to do
with both of those
lip-splitting responses
to other people’s

Maybe people in the theater
didn’t know what to do with Umbrae’s laugh – it was
studied, knowing, glittering, bitter,
old, and in her young voice.
Some of us’ve laughed with her. Maybe people in the theater
didn’t know what to do
when the stiff black girl really did slacken in the gentle black
woman’s coo, cocoon –
What if they could’ve done this,
all this time. Before \\
Umbrae’s laugh started
settling, drifting back to the ground
maybe inground now –
not under, not over

Liza @curseofcelie  is a Black fem who will write and teach E/english for years to come. She’s had an on-and-off thing with stages. She likes listening to how people speak, and minding herself when she can.