Two Poems by Kiarra Patterson

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Kiarra Patterson is a finalist in Day Eight’s annual open-to-all poetry competition, the DC Poet Project. Read more about the DC Poet Project here and attend the culminating reading event Saturday May 4, 2024.

Ultralight Beam

This poem is for people who have considered suicide when faith wasn’t quite enuf.
When they were too scared to ask for help.
Too prideful to say their struggles aloud.
Too shamed.
Too judged.
Too in denial.
The ones who went to their parents first and was quickly shut down.
The ones who were told:
“You don’t know what stress is.”
“Get over it”
“Pray. Pray. Pray.”
Not knowing they were already prey.
Preyed on by a mind weak enough to betray them but strong enough to break them
down.

This poem is for people who have considered suicide when faith wasn’t quite enuf.
When they were still struggling after that talk with God.
After they were bended knee for the third time that day.
After they have cried to everyone who would listen because they have grown tired of
crying to themselves.
After they have bargained for their peace.
The ones who could benefit from talking to a professional;
But didn’t know the option because it was too taboo to discuss in the home.
Or the ones like me.
Who don’t want to die but sometimes wish they didn’t exist in the moment.

This poem is for people who are no longer considering.
The ones who completed the attempt.
Who could no longer hold on.
Who allowed faith to catch them on the other side.
Who have closed their pain but now opened the door for the pain of others.
The aftermath.
The grief.
The struggle.
The cycle.

This poem is for people who are on edge.
Who can still be saved.
Who just needs to know someone is listening.
I am here.
And in some ways I am you.
Still looking for the enuf to not consider ever again.

An Evolution

I read somewhere that loving someone is to attend a thousand funerals of who they
used to be.
And a thousand births of who they are becoming.
So, what if you met me then versus now?
Would you be willing to attend?
Would you be willing to not judge me for my past mistakes?
To know that I once traded in my innocence to become not a woman but someone’s
woman.
Because I thought belonging to someone validated who I am.
When in reality, it was preventing me from growing into who I needed to be.
To know that my need of reassurance is not because of something you did wrong.
But because of my insecurities.
To know that I identify with more than one love language because I want to receive the
same amount of effort I put in.
To know that I am working on listening to comprehend and not to respond.
To know that I am not trying to be nosey when I ask you questions.
Just trying to learn you like I learn myself when I put pen to paper.
Its less edits that way.
That when I take notes, I am not using my degrees to therapize you.
But I am annotating the things I notice make you tick versus those that make you smile.
Because your story is important to me.
You will be attending more than a thousand funerals and births for me.
But know that you will be in every eulogy and on every shower invitation because you
are a part of an evolution.

Kiarra Patterson, known as Ki, was bred in Southeast DC. She is a graduate of the first degree granting HBCU, Lincoln University, and completed her dual masters at Widener University. Kiarra is currently a sexual assault counselor with a special focus on the military community. Creatively, she is a poet, self published author, and certified teaching artist but knows there is no limit to further developing her craft. Ki believes poetry is a healing power and continues to create the space for expression and release in inclusive spaces. Kiarra received the 2021 DC Mayor’s Art Award for Emerging Creative. She was also nominated for the DMV Renaissance Awards for Best New Poet in 2022.

Image: Арина Ахметова, CC BY-SA 4.0 https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/4.0, via Wikimedia Commons

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