Tone

They call you Queen

But don’t want your crown

To shine brighter than theirs

And you might come off a certain way

If you wear it too often

Others will always try to

Strip you of your title

False kings at best

They praise your intellect

But tell you to tone it down

Just enough to not exclude 

Anyone by making them

Feel insecure because they don’t 

Think the way you do

Speak the way you do

So you have to meet them

On common ground.

They uplift you

For the sake of being able to

Tear you down when you 

Have ceased to do the very things

They believed made you 

Worthy of their admiration

You absorb all the cruelties 

That society expects you to

In addition to shielding the men in your life

From harm’s way

While being ridiculed for not

Moving enough mountains

Letting your back break from

All those burdens you were meant to carry

They tell you to watch your tone

That even with everything going on

A black woman raising her voice

Is something that cannot be condoned

They want you to be independent

But not so much that you 

Won’t need anything from anyone.

Please remember that you will

Ruffle some feathers, 

Turn a lot of heads

And always be an unstoppable force.

Silky Blue Dress

That silky blue dress has a lot of stories to tell

A story of first dates

Conversations cut short

While we take shortcuts in dark alleys

I don’t think there was ever a

Dinner reservation

Or a movie showing

But his act was like clockwork

After he invades my space

I lose the desire to attend the fictional

Movie showing

Or to rush to the dinner reservation

That was never made

This dress reeks of virgin tears

And a half-experienced jock’s sweat

My mother has no clue

She assumes things are going well

We’ve left the house several times

Even with a piece of me lingering each time

Within the sanctuary of my room

He takes me to places

I do not wish to visit

Everyone’s doing it

I do not have the luxury of saying “No”

I do not say much of anything

It’ll be over in a couple of minutes anyway

Until next time

When he suggests, I wear this silky blue dress


Alexis Garcia (she/her) is a Queer Hispanic writer from New York, NY. She graduated from Manhattanville College in 2017 with a Bachelor of Arts in English. She has had a few of her poems published in UNITED: Volume RED and UNITED: Volume HONEY with Beautiful Minds LLC and Upon Arrival: Threshold with Eber & Wein Publishing. Most recently, she had some poems accepted for publication in Ariel Chart, CC&D magazine, Academy of the Heart and Mind and other publications.

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