Volume 27, Number 3

London, May 2016

I. London, January 2006

It smelled of neglect. The body
lay next to gifts for years
before being found. Even
in death she was preparing
to give and this is what
this world does to black women.

II. London, December 2011

Her television had stayed on
for about three years before
they noticed. A movie
was made about her life story
too late for her to see it
and that is how it always goes.
The black woman as entertainment
when their lives are in danger.

III. London, December 2003

Her name was Joyce Carol Vincent
but it could have been anything
black and buried

like pearls, or oil. Let her be
any other color and there may be
songs sung at doorways for her

disappearance. Her discovery
may have been met with someone
to feel an explosion of relief

that a body was recovered. Maybe
someone would care what mouth
captured her but unfortunately

she is black, and she is woman.
The beast lives with us daily
and nobody bats an eye.

IV. London, May 2016

This was her hometown, my love, just
imagine how they would forget someone
who is just coming to visit like yourself.

—Deonte Osayande