After Stalker


I remember when I thought art

was a hot moon 

a meal or a poison 

a lake contained in the infinite 

a radical itch 

to scratch by a clouded 

window I could sneak along 

the wall of a ruin one of a trio

I meet in the abandoned tunnel

trying to hide from the unknown 

finding the lack of noises dangerous 


What could we say to each other in greeting 

Could we triple our voices in the echo 

Could I listen even as my gut disagrees with 

outward calm as my face carries it all 


All the care exhausts me 

On the other side I leave aside the echo 

I swallow the bile

The lake ahead foams & I hear the flood rush

I'm out of doors 


In the ruin panes of broken glass give no reflection

We drink from aluminum cans & build a fire

The flood comes & I am almost in the way

Just enough to witness in silence

Discarded syringes

Wet newspapers

We smoke & talk about our mothers

& forget how we have escaped
The flood but not the ruin



Khadijah Queen is the author of Conduit (Akashic Books 2008), Black Peculiar (Noemi Press 2011), and Fearful Beloved (Argos Books 2015). As part of Leslie Scalapino Award, Litmus Press published her verse play Non-Sequitur, with a full production staged off-Broadway at Theaterlab from December 10 - 20, 2015 by The Relationship. Individual poems and prose appear or are forthcoming in Fence, Tin House, Gulf Coast, Poor Claudia, The Offing, jubilat, Memoir, Tupelo Quarterly, Best American Nonrequired Reading, DIAGRAM, The Volta Book of Poets, LitHub, The Force of What's Possible and widely elsewhere. Reviews of her work can be found in BOMB Magazine, SCOUTPublishers Weekly, Los Angeles Review, Open Letters Monthly, The Volta, Kenyon Review, Boston Review, and other publications. Her fifth book, I'm So Fine: A List of Famous Men & What I Had On, will appear from YesYes Books in March 2017. She serves as core faculty in poetry and playwriting for the new Mile-High MFA in creative writing at Regis University.