issue 4: dec 2015, Poetry
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Supplication by Monica Prince


Hoods up, heads down, knees bent, hands to ground.
This is how I pray now.
Tonight, I’m climbing to the highest point in the city.
I want to be as close as possible to God tonight,
want to see His face while I scream.
Hood up, head down, knees bent, hands to ground.

I can’t be alone tonight, but I can’t go to the streets.
It’s not safe out there, you see,
because tonight a Black body’s killer
walked home free, was released as not guilty.
Cop or civilian, KKK or terrorist.
Baltimore, Ferguson, Charleston, Savannah.
I don’t know who to call, which Heaven to scream at,
which courthouse to burn down:
hood up, head down, knees bent, hands to ground.

I’ve never been afraid of heights
but the twitch of fingers near utility belts
makes my body convulse.
Someone told me there are more of us
in prison than in college—but really,
there are more us in coffins than in classrooms.
I’m an anomaly, having survived ages thirteen,
seventeen, twenty-one. Not dressed in
blue or red, strangled or shot.
I’m sick of swapping out the names of Black babies
at church ceremonies, sick of crying mothers
and stoic fathers on television, sick of promising my mother
yes, I’ll be careful going home tonight.
Thank God she knows how to pray:
hood up, head down, knees bent, hands to ground.

Genocide doesn’t look the same on American soil,
so they call every incident a tragedy. But God help the people
praying for a revolution, praying to eradicate
the hot curdling of injustice in their blood,
praying for every family who must protect their kids
from child molesters, gangs, drugs,
racists, sexists, homophobes and vigilantes.
It’s not enough to put them in school,
teach them manners, snatch their hands away
from open flames and get them home before the streetlights
come on—now we must keep them inside,
away from guns and windows, lock them
in closets, whispering through the keyhole—
Keep your hoods up, heads down, knees bent, and hands to the ground
until it’s safe to come out.



Monica Prince received her M.F.A in Creative Writing with a focus in poetry from Georgia College & State University in 2015, and her B.A. in English from Knox College in 2012. Her work is published with Madcap Review and the Agnes Scott 2014 Writers Festival. Her choreopoem, TESTIFY, is being produced by the CutOut Theater in Brooklyn this December. She works, writes, and performs in Denver, CO where she lives with her pug, Otis. To read more of Monica’s work, you can check out her website or email her. You can also find her on twitter

Illustration by Van Hong (website).

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