Brionne Janae
Against Mastery

give me no seat at the table

let no trembling hands lay food on my plate


let me lord over no one and nothing

not the dog curled up in my bed


not the land nor children who wander

through my care         let me learn from the babies


and be always laughing at my ignorance

only humble discovery       give me


and keep my eyes on the pattern of birds’ wings

breaking the blue overhead           let me face


the ones I harm with open palms and let love

be the method and measure of my worth


keep my heart with my people

and the coal glowing beneath my feet


let me run and run and run and run

and let the flame of my torch never go out


I am here with you

to burn the house down


keep me to this          cut me down

before you let me lose my way


Found In Volume 50, No. 06
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Brionne Janae
About the Author


Brionne Janae is the auhtor of Blessed Are the Peacemakers (2022), which won the 2020 Cave Canem Northwestern University Press Poetry Prize and After Jubilee (BOAAT Press, 2017).