National Poetry Month Day 13: Ashanti Anderson





sister, pick which battle to win when you choose to lose the war


I tried staring at the sun once because I needed a metaphor.
I held my head in a lake, breathed sediment,

cut my wrists with tiny blades of sand. I think about suicide
often, I think of other people doing it, I think

about women too strong to be my ancestors
stepping off a ship and into the ocean’s font,

that baptism, the salvation of discontinuity. I remember
my heroes shoved their heads inside cannons

to muffle the blow. Their oath: death is emancipation enforced
& over & over I repeat I have to tell my baby


Photograph of Ashanti Anderson by Ashanti Anderson.

Ashanti Anderson (she/her) is a Black Queer Disabled poet, screenwriter, and playwright. Her debut poetry chapbook, Black Under, won the Spring 2020 Black River Chapbook Competition at Black Lawrence Press. Her poems have appeared in World Literature Today, POETRY, and elsewhere in print and on the web. Learn more about Ashanti’s previous and latest shenanigans at More from this author →