Soft body by the river — how you quiver
With a fear all too familiar — you were never meant to be here and now your mother is starting to worry...
Another girl who looks like me has gone missing or worse.
The story circulates in seemingly small social media circles
Revolves and resurfaces in the emotional tides of POC, LGBTQ+ and the Politically Correct
with hope.
And in doing such, they conjure a collective prayer, a people’s plea that rings,
“if you see her, say her name.”
Yet the list of every HER’s is long and still on-going and impossible to say without twisting or biting the tongue.
So often I don’t speak at all
As not to accidentally say my sisters name, my mothers name, or my own.
My stomach stays knotted
My eyes always looking over my shoulder
Should I fight or freeze or fly or smile — did she not smile?
Was she not sweet enough — not soft — did she not submit? And so was left there by the river
In the ally
In the parking lot
In a jail cell
In the bathroom
In the bedroom on the floor
In a tree
By the river
A stranger left behind fruit to spoil.
And there by the water are so many other bodies
Of people this country feared because they simply did not agree with what harmless aspect(s) of those who made them uncomfortable were, an uneasiness that truly stems from ignorance and insecurity.
And so they did what they do best
Called us the problem, called us sinners, called on their White Jesus for a rapture,
put on their Sunday best camouflage with their badges and bibles and bias Congress bill and an absurd amount of money
And continued hunting.
Troi Speaks is an emerging multimedia artist originally from Van Nuys, California, currently focusing on abstract painting and poetry. Her works are mainly centered around emotional responses and reflections about living; both in general and as a queer Black woman. Right now she is in the process of honing her skills and expanding her comfort zones. Ultimately, she intends to turn her artistry into a career that emphasizes self-care & nature through educationally therapeutic studio workshops in various mediums. Follow her on Instagram.

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