Feature image credit: @loveonpages

In Black Girl, Call Home Jasmine Mans pulls at the readers heart strings. In every poem, the reader learns what it’s like to live as a queer Black woman and the barriers faced along the way. She records triumph, agony, and above all shows how to achieve acceptance, accord, and ease while finding your way home.


Dear ex lover,

I promise

I’ll stop chasing

your memories in my dreams.

I’ll stop bringing your name up

over cups of coffee, muffins,

and loneliness.

I’ll marry a man and lay my heart

on his chest like red roses

on mahogany caskets,

and I’ll have his daughter.

She’ll have eyes reminding me

God still believes in second chances.

If she ever falls in love with a woman

I’ll love bravery down her spine.

I’ll be reminded of all the times

we loved like there were expiration dates

tattooed on our inner thighs.

I’ll tell her to watch out

For women whose silhouettes

remind her of roadblocks.

To run when she kisses dead skin

that reminds her of dead ends.

If she ever comes home

with eyelids like cracking levees,

bruised kneecaps, and a heart full

of question marks,

I will hold her

like my mother never held me.

I’ll clasp her face in my palms

like the New Testament on Judgment Day.

I will remind her that true love

is the passion that allows you

to do the right thing.

And no human is strong enough

to play coaster

to a half-empty heart.

Dear ex lover,

if my daughter ever feels

like she’s alone,

as if her heart isn’t a hand-me-down

fabric pulled out of the depths

of her mommy’s closet,

I’ll remember your name,

and mumble it under my breath

when she asks me, what did I say

I’ll tell her,

“I know what it feels like

to drag a woman out of a cold war,

then being too worn to clean up

the battlefield it has made of you.”

I will tell her,

“Your heartbeat sounded like gun’ shells

tripping over battered cement.”

I will tell her,

I know what it feels like

to just want someone to remember you.

And apologies are like oxygen masks

on hijacked planes,

forgive yourself

before you dare

you forgive the person

lying next to you.

Excerpted from BLACK GIRL, CALL HOME published by arrangement with Berkley, an imprint of Penguin Random House LLC. Copyright © 2021 by Jasmine Mans.