We Shine Brighter in the Dark by Janel Cloyd


Janel Cloyd is a poet, fiction writer and essayist. She has been awarded Artists Fellowships and Residencies with DreamYard, Willow Arts Alliance with history concentration in the Weeksville African American Cultural Arts Center. She is Watering Hole Poetry Fellow. Publications include: The Black Lives Have Always Mattered Anthology edited by Abiodun Oyewole of the Last Poets, Mujeres, The Movement, & The Muse Anthology, About Place Journal, Peregrine Journal, The Yellow Chair, Poeming Pigeon and Cave Canem Digital, Gathering Round. Cloyd is a mixed media artist with a concentration in collage, paper arts, fiber, poetry, text and images. Her work explores and embraces the themes of womanhood, spirituality and the body aesthetic.  

Our bodies have always

been spark against the flint

We have survived

the worst of living

with a glint still left

in our eyes

Our humanity allows us

to believe kindness

lives in all human hearts

We cannot forget

there exists a living breathing

thing that will snatch

the weakest amongst us

and use our bones as kindling

It will sip our molten bone marrow

and hide our screams

in its laughter

This demon is legend

but not powerful enough

to penetrate the prayers

the Ancestors layered on

our melanated skin

Whatever tries to swallow whole

will digest a riot. 


The Acentos Review 2019