by Fullamusu Bangura
Fullamusu Bangura (she/her/hers) is a poet originally from Washington, D.C. and currently residing in Chicago, Illinois. Her work has been published in New Delta Review, Apogee Journal, & Cosmonauts Avenue. Connect with her on Instagram and Twitter at @killamusu.
i have lips like missy elliott
big and pinched, permanently puckered
like freshly sucked lemon. pouty, lips puffed
wide open. i swallow oceans. men see big
lips and call me freaky. i open my mouth
to curse them only. i open my mouth to
take them in, wholly. missy tells me ain’t no
shame and i work towards believing her.
i am swimming up to my brows in hot boys.
poke my lips at them then ignore them.
i am the prettiest when i pass the dutch
smoke past my teeth. lick shots and dodge
them for my sanity. my lips, an unfinished
paint job abandoned, daring in gloss, begging
you to call out their imperfection. like my
lips, all my faves are problematic. both of us
bitches, black as ever, bent beyond breaking
point. both of us bitches, someplace but here.
I am still learning how to get all the kinks out. I give myself
in my hands only just yesterday. how sometimes they slip
when i tend
to the crops.
handmade rows i crafted, tiny equators of earth i mapped
out. today, i
a planet again. tonight, i plant my knees into the ground &
vines. my mother’s tool of choice bore more teeth. cut me.
comb with more breathing room. breadth of more lung,
star. i leave
home for therapy, pulling my roots apart & still grieving
when i say
i am kinky, i mean i am still learning all the ways my knots
my hairstylist tells me to cut the split ends now, i obey. she
uses a car
can’t remember but it sticks. i claim the skies for my stalks
find a root to cling to and deem it lucky. my faith is a seed.