Brionne Janae

April 24, 2016 Janae Brionne


always the dark body hewn asunder; always

                        ~Natasha Trethewey



always the dark body hewn asunder; always

the rope and the stretched neck broken, always shadows

streaked across ashen faces, nights darkness wrecked


with torchlight, always the body blacker than clay

mob below upright glaring, always lack stowed

in the hollowness between dark ribs. the spec-


tacle flash, framed and looking up. always some slack

nigger sorry, looking down. always the rending

the parted flesh, the body broken never blessed


always a sacred tree, and dead weight, the dark roots wracked

with guilt. forever and always, here, an ending

the fatal twitch ticking down till final breath.


always murder, stolen sex, helpless overcome with fire.

always the flesh bared to scarcely masked desire.

Brionne Janae is a poet and teaching artist living in Brooklyn. They are the author of Blessed are the Peacemakers (2021) which won the 2020 Cave Canem Northwestern University Press Poetry Prize, and After Jubilee (2017) published by Boat Press. Brionne is a 2023 NEA Creative Writing Fellow, a Hedgebrook Alum and proud Cave Canem Fellow. Their poetry has been published in Best American Poetry 2022, Ploughshares, The American Poetry Review, The Academy of American Poets Poem-a-Day, The Sun Magazine, jubilat, and Waxwing among others. Brionne is the co-host of the podcast: The Slave is Gone alongside poet Jericho Brown and Rogue Scholar Aífe Murray. Off the page they go by Breezy.