2 Poems by Ashanti Marshall



The mouth swimming open—
What does it mean: to swim?
What is the destiny of your breath?

To take action

in, with or and
with the intention to break a surface

and go beneath, more inward
than you are,

You are first between yourself and the Most High,

and this is the reason
and you have a voice.



do you


                                                            yourself in all your feelings.

do you


                                                            if the mask has always been there.

what do i remember before you.
how did you get so comfortable.
how long are you staying.
what more will i be.
what do i have to give.


the mouth of the piece of you that is afraid.

what does its breath feel like,

how does it

touch your skin.

where do you exist


you came looking
                                    for a reason.

what does its teeth feel like.
are they really there.
where did the tongue go.

who swallowed it up.
now, just a nub.

the beginnings of a thought unformed and untamed.

what are you willing to be.

do you know what you are.
do believe it.

a semblance of ever having said anything,
            made itself memorable,
                        made itself known.

why did you come looking.
                                                did you come to solve.
                                                                                    did you come as a salve.

are you here
to make it feel anything that it isn’t.

how did you
come unprepared,

what did you
have to undo to get here.

have you seen it for itself.
                                                have you seen it outside of your desire of it.
                                                                                    you sure, you know what to do with it.

are you confident
in that,

            outside of the circumstance.

are you prepared
for the futures of your decisions.

                                                            you won’t know until you get there.
                                                            you won’t be able until you get there.

is that why a voice begins.

what answers are we conditioned to trust.
trust can stand
to be
more flexible, more spectrum.

                                                            ain’t that how the light gets in anyway.


Blank space leads to black opportunity. We always have space and opportunity. A possibility and a threat, the balance is always in you. A proud product of mild sauce and Maya Angelou, Ashanti Marshall is your queer little sis outchea trusting what moves them as truth. You can find them deep in the earth of things, fully involved and stimulated by how they view change and create it. A digital archivist by trade, oracle by birthright, they are of the elements and with them, deeply.



Also by Ashanti Marshall:

Recovering Softcover


Back to Issue 1 of the Fresh Ink Anthology