I Intend to Outlast

with a line from Issa Rae
with a line from Morgan Parker

I am not the same machine which came rambling
off the conveyor belt, hugging the bolts & wires
spilling from her vivisection. I’m last year’s model
with a sleeker, softer system of cool disdain for
Internet desires. Mind sound as the wax
of a plaintive tree with supple leaves & syrup
for squirrels in autumn. But my convictions?
Like post-op. My consciousness hospital-humming.
My eyesight’s waves breaking gold & purple
like the L.A. Lakers. I calmly ask my white nurse
to tell my distresses to stop screaming.
& everything Black, I root for. Anything
left behind to destroy or burden me (my dark,
thick sutures dissolved into my torso like
a glass of water into Lake Michigan) I tolerate.
Last year’s model has the same speed as the
year with unending calamity. Has a fat,
featured tongue. I’m just discounted.
Everything tolerated.
I never learned the word escape.

Jameka Williams is a MFA candidate at Northwestern University hailing from Chester, Pennsylvania, fifteen miles southeast of Philadelphia. Her poetry has been published in Prelude Magazine, Gigantic Sequins, Powder Keg Magazine, Muzzle Magazine, Yemassee Journal, Tupelo Quarterly, Painted Bride Quarterly, Jet Fuel Review, Shrew Magazine, and Oyez Review. Her poetry has been nominated for the Pushcart Prize, and is also forthcoming in New American Press’s New Poetry of the Midwest 2019-2020 Anthology and Best New Poets 2020. She resides in Chicago, IL.