Blackness Which Was Always Moving: Poems by Anaïs Duplan

Blackness, Which Was Always Moving

In trembling over the damp
petal-mound, palm-cupped,
I could not but cry out,
stricken as the bird
who sees finally itself
reflected in the careful
accident of a bramble-knot.

Hunger (Motivational State)

I become my mother and father. I don
their postures, I posture, “Where
have they gone and how do I stop them
from devouring me.” The answer is
unspoken but the gutter whispers
in the rain on the side of the house
in which I live alone. I lock the door.
I sleep with my costumes on and my eyes open
in case the wind comes rapping, wet
and full of gutter-sounds. In the middle of the night,
looking for my childbody.

Originally published in Moko Magazine.



I Think That I Can Love It (Shuck)

Mary, full of rage
wearing a bonnet,
carried a bonnet full
of posies, a
bonnet full of ponies.


Pitch-black Mary told a lie,
told the kids to ride
the ponies, freely.
Blacky black Mary
told a lie, said,
You will be loved
by all. Even the nigger-
eaters will love you.
Black blackest Mary
wrapped a cotton blanket
‘round her bountiful
neck, sang a song with her
dangling legs in the salon.


I saw the negress bathing.
I brushed the negress brightly
and when I did expire
in her, did see the borealis.

Anaïs Duplan is the author of Take This Stallion (Brooklyn Arts Press). Her poems and essays have appeared on PBS News Hour, in Hyperallergic, The Journal, Boston Review, and elsewhere. She is an MFA candidate at the Iowa Writers' Workshop.

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