Poetry of Love, Resistance, & Solidarity

12552978_10153398709925678_2056471190933144579_nSmall girl wanders amber waves,

eyes pealed,

heart large with acute ache,

scours fields for something of Kansas

that bears a likeness of her.

 

Gold garland of woven wheat,

rests atop head of tight black curls,

she bends to smell rich county soil,

brushes ground with Cupid’s bow mouth—

lips lush in a way that makes earth feel blessed.

 

She creeps up near a bison herd,

smiles at their wooly thick coats

the same deep brown as her skin,

surprises them to scatter with cries

“Hey there, divinely dark, like me!”

 

Cottonwood shade sends invitation

to nap lulled by honeybee buzz,

she dreams of adversity yet to happen,

of places she’ll arrive just shy of stars,

of honorable mentions that bear her name,

of foreshadowed failures that startle her awake.

 

She plans poems about eating a stew

to put meat on her Midwest bones,

broth rendered thick

with Gwendolyn Brooks, Langston Hughes

seasoned rich with Gordon Parks, Aaron Douglas,

a hearty meal that leaves her sated

and transformed uppity enough

to demand her home town be

more than good place to grow potatoes—

be good place to grow black girls too.

~ Annette Hope Billings

Annette Hope Billings is an poet/actress/playwright from Topeka, KS, who has written two collections of poetry. In 2015, she stepped away from four decades of nursing to writing full-time and explore where her creative path was leading her. Her most recent collection of poetry, A Net Full of Hope, was published last year and has been well-received, garnering her a readers’ proposed title of “Maya of the Midwest.” For more info about her book:tinyurl.com/anfohbook To view videos of her work: tinyurl.com/anfohvideos To follow her on FaceBook: Facebook.com/anetfullofhope.

Photo of Annette by Stephan Anderson-Story

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Comments on: "Just Shy of Stars by Annette Hope Billings" (3)

  1. Annie Newcomer said:

    Dear Annette, I especially loved these lines, “a hearty meal that leaves her sated

    and transformed uppity enough

    to demand her home town be

    more than good place to grow potatoes—

    be good place to grow black girls too.” A lovely piece. ~A

  2. Oshara Meesha Art said:

    I love Annette and her work. She is an awesome Creative Soul!!!!

  3. Thank you for your kind comments. It was a delight to craft this and I’m grateful for the opportunity to share it. I’m not certain how common the knowledge is that “Topeka” has been thought to mean “a good place to grow potatoes”, but I’m trusting that it works. Annette

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