Poetry: at tha request of angels by Kesi Kmt

With”at the request of angels,” Kesi Kmt folds language and dialect and dream into a song on growing up and the fire that comes. Every choice serves her speaker—the apocolyptic imagery and the strong, familial dialect—revealed powerfully, surprisingly in the poem’s final stanzas.


at tha request of angels

iont normally be talkin ta angels
but one of em’ nights
when i was half ah life.
ah angel whispa, told me:

if you caint tell it from tha first part
tell it from tha part
where folks stopped listinin.

so imma try that:

it’s dark as fuck,
but somehow
i aint left.

i’m tryn get up
but caint get
ma’ neck ta listen,

it done got real heavy
nd ma’ cheeks
is meltin

plastic stuck
on somebody
burnin chest.

some man-child,
that aint really
there. nd iont know how

i wont screamin
from tha flames.
guess i seen myself on fire befo’.

ion’t belong here.
nd i would go
if somebody could

stop these walls spinnin.
get this concrete
off ma’ back.

i cin see him
from up unda this.
netted like some fish

caught by some
boy pretendin
he ah man. smell like

tha first time
his daddy hit him
wit absent

war he been ta
but ain’t been back
i ask​ why

you let that happen?
ion’t know why i ask.
like boys kno tha why.

through ah hole in tha wall
tha burnin man-
boy leaves

me: chokin
on tha smoke
he is.

i hear mama
callin. even tho
we not speakin

nd i aint even tell her
i was lost.
she say;

baby girl
you needa get up.
get out.

i wanna.
but iont know
where here is.

i crawl inta ah needle
of light on tha floor.
find jeans,

shirt smell like
i ain’t get ta make.

not givin ah fuck
who wacthin
i drag ma’ corpse out.

feet hit ice
cement like pray-
a. mama

would kill me
fo’ walkin in this cold
wit no shoes.

i scream
but ma’ face
ain’t move. ​help.

i get into ma’ buildin somehow,
bright blue halls
like assault rifles.

mama? i need help

on ma’ knees

nothin looks tha same
even mama look white
nd her hair look red.

inna room wit things
that look like mine
string lights like stars.

i cain’t breathe
i cain’t breathe
ah river in ma’ face

tryna wash away
tha burnt nd boned.
words ferris in ma’ head:

they ain’t listen
mama, i’m sorry i ain’t
fight. they ain’t listen.

i’m tryna get her ta know
it won’t ma’ fault.
won’t ma’ intention

ta be somebody firewood
fo’ them ta burn
theyself on

but this aint home.
just some tacky dorm
somebody done sent me ta fo’ growin

instead i done shrunk ah mile.
nd tha person holdin me
cryin nd shakin

aint ma’ mama
shit, she aint even ma’ friend.
it’s just that somehow

when yo’ whol’ self on fire
it don’t matta
who offa you wata.


Kesi Khmet

kesi kmt is a self-described black souther’n minimalist poet and songwriter. by interrogating the borderlands between language and silence she aspires to give birth to work which both holds and mirrors the diction, dance and legend of southern black american voices. as an alumni of the posse leadership scholarship program and brandeis university, she holds a bachelor's degree in women, gender and sexuality studies. during her tenure at brandeis university, her work appeared in several on-campus publications. namely, artemis, a feminist publication and ebony axis. “at tha request of angels” is poem pulled from the rib of a larger forthcoming project titled mercy of tha borda. kesi currently resides in hyattsville, md. she also has a deep appreciation for, oil painting, afro-house music, roti, and sunday brunch.

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