Brittany Rogers

Black girl sips tea with Nina Simone

After Zoe Saldana defends playing Nina Simone in her biopic by saying “For so many years, nobody knew who the [f**k] she was. She is essential to our American history. As a woman first, and only then as everything else.”

I looked at my Aunt Sarah skin;
my stay out the sun-
You already an eclipse– face.
Body an automatic rejection letter
erasure waiting to happen.

Recall that you loved jazz
second. Wonder if you called
on Classical in the end
If after all the hits you made,
classical allowed the dead sea of your
name to float back to the earth

in acknowledgment.
Wonder how, Black as we is,
Nina, folks keep claiming they
can’t see nothing on us
but our woman?

Claim your legacy a
rabbit she pulled out her hat-
don’t know how Zoe thought she
could swallow black magic
and not disappear herself.

Show her. In the casting agency
before she accepts
the next role deliver
your wide nose and fist
tight hair and thick gifted lips.

Cast a spell. Hang strange fruit
in her voice box. Let the gravel road
of your songs be the only
lullaby for her sleep

May your vibrato perform
surgery. Slice the gold off her
body. Turn her teeth to chipped
piano keys.

I pray you hold protest in her bones.
A riot she can’t police her way out of.
That all your black girl spirit turns up.
Brings a thousand picket signs- each bearing
women dressed in your face. Bring gasoline.

Let her see how God
makes footstools of your enemies.

Brittany Rogers is trying to survive being a mother/high school teacher/poet/Hufflepuff with her glitter and inner church girl intact. She is an editor for, a literary magazine which creates a safe space for urban writers. She has work published or forthcoming in Mothers Always Write Journal, undr_scr review, Eunoia Review, and FreezeRay.

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