• Marías at Sampaguitas

3 Poems by Gervanna Stephens

A grove of spirits

If belief kills and cures then this spirit yearning in my bones must be a begotten nightmare, swiftly palms yield upright surrender is clouded judgment and sinewy hearts

spirit rattling and awakening and calling to the oak spirit deepening and feeling and powerful

solemnity peers after light to answer a calling spirit vibrating knows this body is empyrean flooded enchantments wistfully pliant in its need if belief kills and cures

shall I but empty this breath?

Breathy motifs

in and out

in and out

in and out

solid chest, quaking mouth




there is nothing loud about needing to breathe 

muscle memory or impulse 

again and again and again







there is a reaping stinging in this chest

spinning whirlpools and weeping relief

in and in and in and out 

there is nothing silent about needing to live.

Dear Young Black Person

sometimes existing and surviving are the best we can do.

don’t judge it. don’t push it.

one day you will come into your melanin, like how the voice of a boy cracks at puberty.

you will embrace yourself, like the glowing of a mother pregnant and full.

you are not lazy.

you are not unloved.

you are still your best self even if your skin matches the night and its shades of grey.

you are more than a penny for your thoughts and standup comedy.

you are the skies expanse:

wide and tinted and beautiful.

Gervanna Stephens is a Jamaican poet and proud Slytherin with congenital amputation living in Canada. She is Assistant Editor with The/tƐmz/Review, hates public speaking, has two sisters who are better writers than her & thinks unicorns laugh when we say they aren’t real. Recent or forthcoming work can be found in Moonchild Magazine, Ghost City Press, Montreal Writes and Yes Poetry.

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