2 Poems | Sagirah Shahid

Bean Pie

the law forbade us

we still quilted maps
out of constellations

and wove our freedom
between big dipper and needle

liberation gripped us by the nap

commanding us: be separate but
obedient little margins

every Black Wall street sent up in flames

we rebuilt it each time
unhooked noosed necks

kept birthing new sons
kept singing new hymns

till our yards became dusty with ashen crosses
till Jesus was just another blue-eyed man

the clouds never spared us none
refused us like we wasn’t kinfolk

like saltwater wasn’t fresh
in our bones

if it had rained buttermilk
we would have made a pie outta of that too

but my grandfather had no business begging
for new realities to waltz themselves in

the beans were never sweet
he just added a little sugar

in your eyes navy beans were only a threat
because they reminded you we are amongst the living


 No, I don’t trust the sky

or the gods
of fairness. I give it
three months, maybe four
before some show-boat-y
man with really bad hair decides to make us
the enemy again. Really?

My whole life I grew up wanting
to protect things:
fragile twigs, dopy slugs
never quick enough but
always feeling mesmerized

after a particularly violent rain; the way water trickles away from the sidewalk blindly
into the outstretched arms of
street gutter or curb.

Sagirah Shahid is a Minneapolis, Minnesota based writer. Primarily a poet, her work often seeks to make sense of the complexities surrounding the human experience. A 2015-2016 winner of the Loft Literary Center’s Mentor Series Award in poetry, Sagirah’s work has been published or is forthcoming in: The Journal of Compressed Creative Arts, Mizna, Bluestem, For Harriet, Black Fox, Knockout Literary Magazine, Switchback, and Qu Literary Journal


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