black as: portal

by Kemi Alabi

and even their pitch was a fever
became essential             shouts  
we can live on
a bill the body
owes for our magic
    all living
     would fall apart without
   our Black
     greasing the way between
                                        home and              home
grief      our thickwater spirit
vision double
              shifts Black                
                                back home

Kemi Alabi was born on a Sunday in July. A Chicago-based poet, their work lives (now or soon) in Poetry Magazine, Boston Review, Guernica, The Rumpus, Best New Poets 2019, The BreakBeat Poets Vol. 2 and other warm places. Kemi is the cultural strategy director of Forward Together and coeditor of The Echoing Ida Collection (The Feminist Press, 2021). They’re working, with much love, on their first full-length poetry collection. Find more at