untitled (over the mire) by Kwadwo Alfajiri Shah






These poems are part of a special section of the Mid-Atlantic Review, Celebrating Black History, and selected by editors Khadijah Ali-Coleman, Carolivia Herron, and Rebecca Bishophall. To learn more about this series read a blog post on the Day Eight website here.

untitled (over the mire)

by Kwadwo Alfajiri Shah

over the mire is a thick dense fog
it shields from sight those you don’t want to look at too long
beneath the fog is where hard hands toil
and tender dreams with supple leaves attempt to grow

now and again, a dream grows so tall
that the tips of leaves poke on through the fog

above the fog is a land of thieves and liars
when they feel they must (and they feel so quite often)
they pluck the leaves and scorch the land with fire

despite the blaze, the memory of a dream still flowers
enticing those beneath the fog with a cosmic power

and so the thieves must pull the dream up by its root
they contort the dream, distort its meaning
then put it on public view

now the dream, divorced from its soil
and the hands that tended
shrivels up, transforms strange anew, points
t’ward a different ending

as for those beneath the veil, who produced
a dream now stolen
where do they turn their eyes to now, what do
they put their hope in?

do they vest their trust in the lies
of those who live above
or would such a choice betray the dream
that sprouted from their love?

the best among them turn their backs on
the liars and the thieves
and turn toward their hands and soil to
cultivate again their dream.

Alfajiri Shah is a budding data scientist and Black studies scholar. Their poetry explores themes of relationship to self and community, along with social and political critique. They recite poetry at the occasional open mic and spend most of their time in various states of dreaming.

Featured image in this post is: “Thick Fog descends over Ibberton Hill” by Chris Heaton, creative commons, via Wikimedia Commons.

Bourgeon’s mission, through our online publication and community initiatives, is twofold: to increase participation in the arts and to improve access to the arts. Bourgeon is a project of the not-for-profit Day Eight.
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