Portrait of a Black Woman Considering Her Future by Shirley Jones-Luke


She knows that she sits

on foreign soil, Americanah

when I look at her picture

she is black like me

frozen in time

in this closed city

open only to pale shadows

witnessing the unkindness

of these wispy ghosts

who scream how dare the sun rise

on your hopes & dreams


They want me to sign

over my soul & join

the woman in the portrait

in oblivion of black ink

while forever remembering

the more beautiful & terrible history

of our people, ancestors who wanted

to be more than silent sentries

on a wall

Shirley Jones-Luke is a poet and a writer of color. Ms. Luke lives in Boston, Massachusetts (USA). She has an MFA from Emerson College. Her work has appeared in Adanna, Adelaide Magazine, Cadaverous, Deluge and The Offbeat. Shirley will attend VONA and Tin House workshops this summer.

Creative works (literature, art and culture) emerging from Nigeria.

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