Karaoke Night At The Asylum

By Jennifer Givhan

When I was eleven, Mama sang karaoke
at the asylum. For family night, she’d chosen

Billie Holiday, & while she sang, my brother, a
fretted possum, clung

to me near the punch bowl. I remember her
then, already coffin-legged—

mustard grease on her plain dress,
the cattails of her hair thwapping along

with the beat. The balding headstones of the
others—quarantined

from their own mothers & sisters & daughters—
I wondered if they, like us, were strange

alloys of sadness & forgetting
the words to the songs. I was a grave-

digger then. A rat fleeing ship.  Mama,
who hadn’t sung to me since I was a baby &

never would again, was the lynchpin— I’m still
turning & turning the screw.

Dear Black Child - Grace Storm Ad

Dear Black Child - Grace Storm Ad
Dear Black Child - Grace Storm Ad
LEVEL UP!
Drop your email and we'll send you 25 poetry editing guidelines to help transform your creative writing!
Send It!
LEVEL UP!
Drop your email and we'll send you 25 poetry editing guidelines to help transform your creative writing!
Send It!
Get On The List
We'll let you know whenever we launch a new event, competition or service!
SIGN UP NOW!
Get On The List
We'll let you know whenever we launch a new event, competition or service!
SIGN UP NOW!