fiction, poetry & more


by Shirley Jones-Luke

My origins can be discovered
by sifting through the fragments
God help this child that is me
a girl-woman trying to be a boss

I am not perfect. I was born a crime.
Black & female on this wretched Earth
A long way down from perfection
my world is as wild as the wind

I crave radiance from the holder of dreams
yet, my grit isn’t enough
I’m still trying to piece myself together
because I was born bright like a torch

This is what happens when a woman falls
my soul becomes ice
My life is constantly in motion
There is no option B for me

This is what my truth sounds like
an awkward ember in the ashes
Every day is a struggle to be epic
because I can never look back


Shirley Jones-Luke lives in Boston. She has an MA in English from UMass Boston and an MFA in Creative Writing from Emerson College. Her work focuses on memoir and poetry. She has attended workshops at Colgate University, Hurston/Wright, Tin House, Breadloaf and VONA. Shirley is a Graduate Fellow at The Watering Hole Poetry Retreat. She is currently working on a manuscript entitled “Em/body.”

May 2022