SHE IS BEAUTY, SHE IS GRACE
for Breonna Taylor and Sandra Bland and so many killed Black girls
My mother always told me I was beautiful.
She oiled my scalp with proud-mother care.
She bought me baby and Barbie dolls
who shared my skin—brown beauties
who smiled back at me, whose infinite stories
I told each day in my playtime heaven.
My mother gave me dreams and a Barbie Dreamhouse.
She gave me the right way to tie my shoes
and tuck my shirt. She gave me a well-perfumed joy.
She told me how God made me Black and worthy.
She gave me lullabies badly but beautifully sung,
she gave me midnight snacks when I couldn’t sleep.
My mother gave me love. Gave me life.
She knew, surely, what awaited me outside her door.
She knew what she and dad could not stop,
knew the world outside of Barbies and Sesame Street
and songs and bubbles and hair barrettes
was plotting my demise, that it waited
to gulp each of my little girl giggles.
She knew it, so she filled me up to the brim
with every dream and every smile and every assurance
that I was made beautiful and full of a life
that mattered. That nothing could steal that.
She knew the world would threaten that peace,
but that those sparkling moments,
that love, that life, that beauty
were all worth fighting for.
Amparo Creative House proudly presents a series of Limited Edition Facemask collaborations in the next few weeks with various artists from Alabama and Beyond. You will be supporting Celeste as well as the wonderful Artists who's work will be showcased on the mask
- 100% cotton
- organic ink from carriage house printery
- 2 layers, with filter pocket and adjustable nose wire
- t-shirt adjustable drawstring to ensure proper fit
- 1 special poem from ASHLEY
- clear eco bag
Ashley M. Jones holds an MFA in Poetry from Florida International University, and she is the author of Magic City Gospel (Hub City Press 2017), dark / / thing (Pleiades Press 2019), and REPARATIONS NOW! (Hub City Press 2021). Her poetry has earned several awards, including the Rona Jaffe Foundation Writers Award, the Silver Medal in the Independent Publishers Book Awards, the Lena-Miles Wever Todd Prize for Poetry, a Literature Fellowship from the Alabama State Council on the Arts, the Lucille Clifton Poetry Prize, and the Lucille Clifton Legacy Award. She was a finalist for the Ruth Lily Dorothy Sargent Rosenberg Fellowship in 2020. Her poems and essays appear in or are forthcoming at CNN, The Oxford American, Origins Journal, The Quarry by Split This Rock, Obsidian, and many others. She teaches at the Alabama School of Fine Arts, she co-directs PEN Birmingham, and she is the founding director of the Magic City Poetry Festival.