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Issue One,

Summer 2020

Clinnesha D Sibley


Life Writing

Black Girl from Mississippi

          I am my father’s name and I come from dirt roads, rich soil, Chatawa wells, and firebombed back doors. I come from acts of resistance and freedom marches. I come from a people who didn’t migrate from Mississippi to Harlem or Chicago in the 1920’s. Out of the marshy waters of Dunbar Creek where I stood up in the belly of a whale until he spit me out in the Tallahatchie River. And a mother could no longer cradle her son. (Emmett Till, Money, Mississippi, 1955.)

          I come from the “bomb capital of the world, 1964”. I come ruggedly, adorned in silk and in cotton, with scabs on my chocolate knees, caked with sand, bearing a poem in my soul.


         I come humbly from tall porches in summer 1991, reaching into buckets of purple hull peas. I come from warm traditions like velvet cakes on Christmas and Grace before eating your meal. I come from lace, hats, and gloves on Easter. I come from lambent living rooms with tv popping on Thursdays and stereos playing vinyl after vinyl after Sam Cooke remastered on a Saturday night and Shirley Caesar on Sunday morning– heading to Antioch Missionary Baptist Church singing…



Oh Jesus

How I love

Calling your name.


          I come from They gets drown.

          And Dar he.


          I come from evergreen hills in Eastern Cape, South Africa, where they bury treasures…

          I come from crowns and tribes, castles and ships…

          Because everything works in circles.

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Clinnesha D. Sibley is a literary artist and educator. She is the recipient of the Holland New Voices Award, Mississippi Theatre Association Playwriting Award, an Arkansas Arts Council Individual Artist Fellowship, a National Arts Strategies Creative Communities Fellowship, and the 2020 Arts Institute of Mississippi Award in Creative Writing. Her writing has also appeared in national literary journals, anthologies, and publications including HowlRound, Black Acting Methods, and Continuum: The Journal of African Diaspora Drama.  

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