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About this Poem 

“This poem was inspired by the shoreline in Madison, Connecticut. In Annie Finch’s workshop with other poets at the Poetry By The Sea conference, we explored meter's relationships to nature. As I entered this meditation, I couldn’t help but relate the physical landscape to the ongoing struggles of human nature embroiling our country and world. The poem is a call to transform adversity into greatness; a wish for relief, also known as mercy.”
Kamilah Aisha Moon

Mercy Beach

Stony trails of jagged beauty rise
like stretch marks streaking sand-hips.
All the Earth has borne beguiles us
& battered bodies build our acres.

Babes that sleep in hewn rock cradles
learn to bear the hardness coming.
Tough grace forged in tender bones—
may this serve & bless them well.

They grow & break grief into islands
of sun-baked stone submerged in salt
kisses, worn down by the ocean's ardor
relentless as any strong loving.

May they find caresses that abolish pain.
Like Earth, they brandish wounds of gold!
 

Copyright © 2015 by Kamilah Aisha Moon. Originally published in Poem-a-Day on August 20, 2015, by the Academy of American Poets

Copyright © 2015 by Kamilah Aisha Moon. Originally published in Poem-a-Day on August 20, 2015, by the Academy of American Poets

Kamilah Aisha Moon

Kamilah Aisha Moon

Kamilah Aisha Moon is the author of Starshine & Clay (Four Way Books, 2017). She lives in Atlanta, Georgia.

by this poet

poem
Someone else used to do this before.
Someone responsible,
someone who loved me enough
to protect me from my own filth
piling up.
 
But I’m over 40 now & live alone,
& if I don’t remember it's Thursday
& rise with the cardinals & bluejays
calling up the sun, I’m stuck
with what’s left rotting
for
2
poem

Bound to whims,
bred solely for
circuses of desire.
To hell with savannahs,
towns like Rosewood.

Domestics or domesticated,
one name or surnamed, creatures
the dominant ones can’t live without
would truly flourish
without such devious love,
golden corrals.

2
poem

   —to Shirley Q. Liquor, Drag Queen in Blackface


When you're gay in Dixie,

you're a clown of a desperate circus.


Sometimes the only way to be like daddy

is to hate like him—

hope your brothers laugh

instead of shoot,

wrap a