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2 poems

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.

wide-toothed

I am still learning how to get all the kinks out. I give myself

grace. these

tools, placed

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

learn myself

a planet again. tonight, i plant my knees into the ground &

commit body.

untangle my

vines. my mother’s tool of choice bore more teeth. cut me.

instead, i’ll

choose the

comb with more breathing room. breadth of more lung,

my northern

star. i leave

home for therapy, pulling my roots apart & still grieving

weeds. and

when i say

i am kinky, i mean i am still learning all the ways my knots

create each

other. when

my hairstylist tells me to cut the split ends now, i obey. she

uses a car

metaphor i

can’t remember but it sticks. i claim the skies for my stalks

of flowers.

raise them.

find a root to cling to and deem it lucky. my faith is a seed.