Dani Janae

for Toi


I can't help but recall how
a woman tastes: wandering and floral
the vowels close around my teeth
and want for more tongue.

You tell me your mother would eat
fresh figs with cream so I call
my mouth to it: the butter fig,
the sweet but dizzy cream.
What I imagine asks for salt.


Tough skin. Brown as the both
of us. There too is a violet note
in the jam, the air in the seeds
gives each its giddy applause.

I assumed that if I brought figs
to anyone it could only be for lust
because I have traveled so long by it.
My heart breaks when I remember
all of my years without sugar.

Stewed in Black Tea

The figs, quartered, look like the lobes
of a lung. A dark thing, lovely for it.
I wash my fork in the syrup,
and each lick spoils my lips.

We talk for a while of becoming,
how we conjured women from
our father's fist and dust.
Here is where a sigh escapes:
the fruit set in a cloud of soft cheese.

Dani Janae is a poet living and writing in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. She earned her BA in Creative Writing from Allegheny College. Her poetry deals with the physical and emotional legacy of trauma and addiction, and the intersecting history of her identity as a black, lesbian, woman through themes of the grotesque and horror. Her work has been published by Argot Magazine, Palette Poetry, Pittsburgh Poetry Journal, and Slush Pile Magazine. She is a contributing writer at Autostraddle.

Follow at:

Instagram: @bell.biv.dahoe
Twitter: @figwidow

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