Poem of the Week

curated by Meg Day, Allison Adelle Hedge Coke & Niki Herd

Brought to you every week ish—to help you through the days.


July 13, 2016 / Leah Lakshmi Piepzna-Samarasinha


god is in Ross Dress for Less

god’s definitely here. in all these tired-out brown women
looking through racks and racks of what’s not lying on the floor:
god comes through for us,
makes us fly and impossibly beautiful

god is the lean finger
that leads us to the red high-heeled
Steve Maddens, the cherry-red stiletto
the Native Tongues hoodie
for $14.99

god is in the woman at the checkout
raising two grandbabies on this job and the DMV, saying

you look real cute! I remember when I used to dress like that
but since I’m the minister of my church I have to tell you
jesus told ladies they need to cover up more

as she pulls the security tag off my slutty Steve Madden heels

and drops them in the bag without charging me a damn thing




first published in Love Cake, TSAR/ Mawenzi House 2011





Curator's Notes: Meg Day

Have you ever tried to train your gaze along the imprecise pointing of someone’s finger toward where—in the vast, nearly indefinite night sky—a constellation is supposedly waiting intact for you to find it? So much of the time, my experience as a reader mimics that of the untrained stargazer trying my best to see what it is I’m supposed to see. Not so with Leah Lakshmi Piepzna-Samarasinha: there is no front, no vague gesture, no promise that something’s there & I’m just not looking hard enough. There is no mistaking: half prayer, half prophecy, this poem glows like it just descended from some kind of futurity I didn’t know was waiting for me. I can see it clearly, can pull it close & closer, & can feel Piepzna-Samarasinha—like gravity itself—holding me to the earth for a beat longer than most poems dare, just so I get a real good look. If poetry is a site of generosity, Piepzna-Samarasinha has been specific in the giving: pay attention, have reverence, give again.

Leah Lakshmi Piepzna-Samarasinha is a queer disabled femme writer, performance artist and educator of Burgher/Tamil Sri Lankan and Irish/Roma ascent.  The author of the Lambda Award-winning Love Cake,  Dirty River (ALA Top 10 LGBT Books of the Year2015), Bodymap and Consensual Genocide and co-editor with Ching-In Chen and Jai Dulani of The Revolution Starts At Home: Confronting Intimate Violence in Activist Communities, her writings on femme of color and Sri Lankan identities, survivorhood, and healing, disability and transformative justice have appeared in the anthologies Octavia's Brood, Dear Sister, Letters Lived, Undoing Border Imperialism, Stay Solid, Persistence: Still Butch and Femme, Yes Means Yes, Visible: A Femmethology, Homelands, Colonize This, We Don’t Need Another Wave, Bitchfest, Without a Net, Dangerous Families, Brazen Femme, Femme and A Girl’s Guide to Taking Over The World.   She also writes the popular online advice column, Ask Shark Mom https://asksharkmom.wordpress.com

She is the co-founder of Mangos With Chili, North America's touring queer and trans people of color cabaret, a lead artist with the disability justice incubator Sins Invalid and co-founder of Toronto's Asian Arts Freedom School. In 2010 she was named one of the Feminist Press' 40 Feminists Under 40 Shaping the Future and she is a 2013 Autostraddle Hot 105 member. She lives between Toronto, unceded Three Fires Confederacy Territories and Seattle, unceded Duwamish territories, with the love of her life.  brownstargirl.org



























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