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Friday Feature: Khalisa Rae

Khalisa Rae is an award-winning poet, educator, and journalist in Durham, NC. She is the author of the debut poetry collection, Ghost in a Black Girl's Throat (Red Hen Press 2021), and Contributing Writer for Kindred. Her essays are featured in Autostraddle, Catapult, LitHub, as well as articles in Jezebel, Blavity, B*tch Media, NBC-BLK, and others. Her poetry appears in Southern Humanities Review, Gravy, Frontier Poetry, Florida Review, Rust & Moth, PANK, HOBART, among countless others. She is the winner of the Appy Award, Vulgar Genius, Bright Wings Poetry contest, the Furious Flower Gwendolyn Brooks Poetry Prize, among other prizes. Currently, she serves as Publications Coordinator for Split This Rock and EIC of Think in Ink BIPOC collective. Her YA novel in verse, Unlearning Eden, is forthcoming. Follow Khalisa on her website and on Instagram and Twitter.

Wind Watching

What if Dorothy wasn’t afraid of the wind?

What if she welcomed the cyclone?

The thought of being lifted, suspended

in air as release. What if she saw

it as escape, being tossed and jolted? Maybe

a change would occur if she shook fast

enough. Maybe she liked not knowing

if her body would survive the catch and release.

Maybe being picked up and let

go in another’s chaos was freeing.

I imagine she was raptured before the light of the day

had kissed the earth. The swirl approached and she went

willingly. Threw her head and arms back,

and lets it consume her.

Maybe she had been waiting to be swept off her feet

by a wild, uncontrollable thing.


Torch Literary Arts is a 501(c)3 nonprofit established to publish and promote creative writing by Black women. We publish contemporary writing by experienced and emerging writers alike. TORCH has featured work by Toi Derricotte, Tayari Jones, Sharon Bridgforth, Crystal Wilkinson, Patricia Smith, Natasha Trethewey, Elizabeth Alexander, and others. Programs include the Wildfire Reading Series, writing workshops, and retreats.


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