Kay Bell

is our grandma’s silence is a peace that comes when we cannot understand her hurling items down the hall                & this volcanic pile of smoke and welted wigs was all the noise we needed to feel buried in bodies that belonged to the history of theft and annihilation. To know insult like God and fear the solitude of what happens after the flood, after the baby is born and not wanted & after not knowing the distinction between night and day but to know the stench of sound & asphalt against our cheeks.

is our mother’s verbal passions securing our future. Teaching us to remain marred & leveled with hatred for love & loyalty. To quest for freedom outside of maternal bonds by running down the hall                of pity and lapse judgments. To go a lifetime with hurting and see only the thing that hurts. To become an audience of saints that will never reach God. To resist healing. To revolt against ourselves before dinner each night. To count the stars and not mean      it.

is I was never made to sink. I was shaped from the image of God and helium. I keep my family’s history in a photo album down the hall                in a house no one visits. My children are there. I am the kitchen. Inside me there is a stove of secrets where all the women hoard a blaze of men that only brought them fire. Burning never excited me and I never stopped being cautious of silent women or women who never learned to keep their mouths shut.


Kay Bell can be quoted: “if it makes me cry, sweat, or bleed it’s worth writing about.” She has been published in the book, Brown Molasses Sunday: An Anthology of Black Women Writers, the Lily Poetry Review, Moko: Caribbean Arts and Letters, The Write Launch and other venues. She earned an MFA from the City College of New York where she also won the Esther Unger Poetry Prize and the Dortort Prize in Creative Writing for nonfiction.