Say I Held a Revolver to Charlotte’s Web
I say I am afraid of spiders, but secretly
I am jealous of all the ways life
has granted them eight exits. The choice
to get gone
and stay gone. How escape is the best
revenge. My legs have been dying
to flee through the cracks
unannounced. How spiders are spirits
and their legs
have many lives—all say something
about the web they’ve stitched, the many meals
with their abundant hands;
thread and tie up the threat for later.
They’re all the same—wasps and bees,
things with wings
and multiple escape plans. Damn
the freedom to burrow in the floorboard
and leap out the window.
Stuck—I scream and swat their flight--
eliminate the choices. A shoe
zapper, newspaper, and revolver, they’re all
How spiders are spirits and their legs
have many lives.
How it has what it needs to leave/live
and uses it. I am
emerald-eyed and foaming
that I can’t trap that escape.
The Sun Goes Flower Picking
Cut stems at an angle with a sharp knife
Add room temperature water
Sprinkle in fresh flower food
Display flowers in a cool spot
Point their petals toward the sunlight
Remove any dead foliage
Be mindful of which flowers
need shallow or deep water
Research which species
need cool or warm temperatures
After months of reluctant sheltering
the sun grew tired of turning its body
toward the beauties;
countless bouquets wilted
I lack the patience to keep these fragile
Every day she passed a luscious garden
of Begonias and Camellias covered
in rich soil-- their fragrance luring
her to lean in. She grew closer to their wide-eyed petals and thought,
How easy to snip their unattended necks.
Late one evening, when no one was looking,
when the houses and streets were silent,
she plucked a handful
with no remorse.
She whispered in the sweetest voice,
Beautiful creations with a twisted grin.
Back at home with her bouquet, sun stroked
and fluffed their petals,
inhaled their aroma, and petted their stems. Placed them in water, then attempted
to replant them in their beds.
But nothing grew.
What she didn't know--
flowers ripped from the soil will
not survive. Eventually, they will wilt
and return to the dirt from which they came.
Khalisa Rae is an award-winning poet, activist, and journalist based in Durham, NC. She is the Gen Z Culture Editor at Blavity News and the author of the debut collection- Ghost in a Black Girl’s Throat from Red Hen Press 2021. Her articles appear in Vogue, Autostraddle, Catapult, LitHub, Bitch Media, NBC-BLK, and others. Her power-packed poetry in Electric Lit, Pinch, Tishman Review, Frontier Poetry, Rust & Moth, PANK, HOBART, among countless others. Currently, she serves as Asst. Editor of Glass Poetry, co-founder of Think in Ink and the Women of Color Speak reading series. Her second collection, Unlearning Eden is forthcoming from White Stag Publishing in 2022.
Uncovered logs from the distant past and the future beyond.