Plain China


by Maya Osbourne · Bard College · Honorable Mention in Poetry
Never Too Early to Laugh, Renata Malionek · Susquehanna University

She—a dead mango seed,

a burnt redemption song

he got that slave ship love

skin chalked in sea sunset.

siren of maroon speak,

call him fishbelly-white.

call me the Two-Faced One.

daughter of the red sea

sister to the mississippi

a twisted mother-tongue.

i’ll be an uprising when

Home splits

and splinters

like sugarcane,

into dust.

About the Author

Maya Osbourne · Bard College

Born in Brooklyn and raised in the Lower East Side, Maya Osborne is completing her B.A. in written arts and Africana studies. Her poems have been published in LUX Magazine and Bard Papers, in which this poem first appeared. Recently placing third in the 15th Brave New Voices team poetry slam, Maya is constantly translating her work between the page and the stage. She enjoys collaborating with jazz musicians and can also be found around the New York City slam scene and on YouTube.

About the Artist

Renata Malionek · Susquehanna University

Originally from Hyattsville, Maryland, Renata Malionek is a recent graduate of Susquehanna, where she majored in political science and minored in creative writing. Her photograph first appeared in Susquehanna’s RiverCraft.