Image: A human eye sketched on multiple pieces of writing.

1500 | By Tonika Reed

There is a sea between she and me. She sits inside a book on the shelf, and I can see her. Touch her. White men say her smooth black skin is a painting— European, Black Madonna. Sunburnt, make-up. Mekkle lips, and grand hippis. She is my body. A dark lady woven into satirical sonnets. Paper is scattered on my desk. I pull down stars from the dark night sky to make her stay in the room with me. She is 1500. She is brown. Skin is a painting, a sculpture, an entire forgotten narrative. I write my body onto the paper that is her body. A body of no payne. My heart beats fast. I am crying. She is here and I am here. She is crying for the moon. The sun burns. There are words all over my papers, all over my body. She climbs out of the book, and into my head, and onto the page. I smile. There are more words. My professor says bright words are in the books that are stars. He is brown, I am brown. I smile.


Tonika Reed is both a journalist and writer pursuing her Masters in English Literature at Chapman University. She holds a Bachelor’s degree in Journalism and Integrated Media with an emphasis in Writing and Publishing from Biola University. Her academic interests include cultural, aesthetic, philosophic studies.




Featured Image: “LIBRE AFRICA COLLAGE ART” by danor shtruzman is licensed under Public Domain

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