Back to Issue Thirty-Six




In my youth, I swallowed watermelon seeds
& panicked. Visions of striped fruit taking
Root in my belly plagued me. Momma told
Me nothing grows without sunlight, so I
Learned dark lived in me. O, Lorraine, I have
Been called strange & fruity, too: melon &
Lemon. Apple, mango, pine, cherry. Bananas,
Passion, black & berry. You know, it haunts
Me that so many versions of “Strange Fruit” exist.
In Nina’s, she sings the word strange like she is
About to break. In Billie’s, like she is alone. This
Is history’s cruelest duet: two voices trembling loss.
The word loss is really a villain. I’ve murmured it enough
That, if I’m tired, I can trick myself into hearing love.




Tariq Thompson is a Black undergraduate senior from Memphis, Tennessee. He attends Kenyon College, where he is both an Associate and Social Media Intern for The Kenyon Review. He also serves as the Social Media Editor for Shade Literary Arts. He has poems published or forthcoming in Sixth FinchThe American Poetry Reviewwildness, and The Adroit Journal, where he received the 2020 Adroit Prize for Poetry. Currently, Tariq is working on his debut chapbook of poetry, titled LONE LILY, forthcoming from Sunset Press in April 2021. Aside from poetry, his loves include Pokémon, Studio Ghibli, and horror films.

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