in broad dayliGht black descendants look gall
betwixt the chin-high grass
hot enough to scald a lizard
beneath the mason dixon
a single home in a field of trailers
the big house
the floorboards creak
the howl of a billion souls unfree
the record spins
the beat repeats
you still away,
where your grands’ grands will belong to no one
steal away to own your own body
what is it about learning you have a body that makes
having a body so damn complicated?
joy is an impossible thing to remember
to know yourself as your own, but still a descendant of theft
joy to be free in vain
as a result of someone else’s captivity
two black women
egos the top rung of a ladder
trapped in the body of a ditch
but we wobble
atop a warehouse of stolen caskets
the dance floor shimmys back
sayin’ g’head girl, this joy is yours
To celebrate National Poetry Month and in appreciation of the many cancelled book launches and tours, we are happy to present an April Celebration: 30 Presses/30 Poets (#ArmchairBookFair). Please join us every day for new poetry from the presses that sustain us.
Excerpted from dayliGht by Roya Marsh.
Published by MCD × FSG Originals, an imprint of Farrar, Straus and Giroux.
Copyright © 2020 by Roya Marsh.
All rights reserved.
A Bronx, New York native, Roya Marsh is a nationally-ranked poet/performer/educator/activist. She is the Poet in Residence at Urban Word NYC and works feverishly toward LGBTQIA justice and dismantling white supremacy. Roya’s work has been featured in Poetry Magazine, Flypaper Magazine, Frontier Poetry, the Village Voice, Nylon Magazine, Huffington Post, Button Poetry, Def Jam’s All Def Digital, Lexus Verses and Flow, NBC, BET and The BreakBeat Poets Vol 2: Black Girl Magic (Haymarket 2018).
"[dayliGht] brings to life the complexities of coming of age in a heteronormative, white supremacist, gender-policing society. It is potent and sharp, abundant and grand. This one will grab you, and it will stay in your body long after you’re done reading."
—Sarah Neilson, Literary Hub
“Saturated with wit, wonder, and heartbreak, dayliGht is an intimate collection that is relentless in its examination of the intersections of womanhood, queerness, and Blackness. A brilliant debut book of poems.”
—Elizabeth Acevedo, National Book Award-winning author of The Poet X
“Roya Marsh’s debut is at turns gripping, angry, and joyful―and always powerful. I love these poems for the small wonders I find in each one. In comparing her mother’s cancer to gentrification, for example, she reveals much about both. These poems are crafted out of a love for self and for the selves that might grow when given a chance to heal. dayliGht is a revelation.”
—José Olivarez, author of the PEN/Jean Stein Award–nominated poetry collection Citizen Illegal