Four Poems

Black and white print image of a distorted Black woman's body

Sandra Kate Williams

Cover for Southern Exposure's Southern Black Utterances Today cover featuring a woodcut print of a Black man's face gazing upward, by Atlanta artist Lucious Hightower

This article originally appeared in Southern Exposure Vol. 3 No. 1, "Southern Black Utterances Today." Find more from that issue here.


somewhere here

is this face

who grabs my everything

and takes me world hopping

and lets me see myself in

going up

way up

to the top of my be.



haunting realities kept crouched beneath

the foot of my mind,

pushing at my soul,

sucking at my breath.


and me the shrewd one

stomping all the arteries out,

stepping away from a tinge

of paradox lying in the mud.


I lay a pure silk scarf across and jump.



Flavor overflow

catches me dry.

Its fall could not penetrate my shut pores.


The flow divided, saturates.

Tiny bubbles disguise themselves as air,

And slip in somehow,

The microscopic crystals melt

and reorder my life.

Them the water pearls of your being.


I splash around

in circles of your wet laugh

your long kisses,

your poetry fills my arteries

with the bubble

of your who you are.


3/4ths water.

I can not swim!

Even the cities are flooded

and I wade through hoping

I can make it.

The "h" too bores

a wooden ring through the hole in my nose

marked, taken.


It's good,

the bath of knowledge

poured from your special cup,

adjusting automatically, to what

we both can take.


We say goodby on the shores of the future

Because we know presence is not needed,

Another time

Another place,

it will rain again.



I sat before this

woman squinching her eyes

in my unfortunate direction.


I sat looking at the holes her

atomic words left,

could see clear through

to the other side of the world!


There were no pardoning words,

come suddenly swashing from my mouth,

I sat uncomfortable.




Even reached across the erupted

river between.


She was black and just wouldn't hear of it.

Then she said, he said,

they probably did.

But I was the central issue,

the one that turned the motor on.


Black and so called educated, compromised.

But I had been born in a project,

moved out and there she still stayed,

accusing me of being her jailer.


I held no gun,

but pointed to the central cause.

I made more money than she did

and she did

all the work.