Escape after Black Joy by Roya Marsh


Imprisoned by a ridged voice in my head.

I’m taking my freedom-

& although I don’t need anyone’s permission 

to live an unshackled life, I still

needed to hear someone say, do you, they’re gonna talk,



This liberation is mine for the taking

because the slaves in my veins did not

fight for their lives in vain. 

And here I am, free

as can be, living

like an ass tied to a plastic chair 

with a power to run wild among the trees      waiting

for a master to co-sign my emancipation. 

This is how you forgive


For many years, my mother hated 

my father’s guts. For what he did 

to her, to us 

for being a crappy dad, overall. 


She forgave him 

after all of that


She found it in her heart 

to let go of the grudge. 

And even though my sibling passed,

there was still me 

in between them. 


She forgave him 

due to all of that


They’re friends 

they even converse now

they stay over my house at the same time 

Not one argument in sight. 


We spend holidays together- 

still an entity, even when 

one of us lives in eternity. 


She forgave him 

amid all of that


Loss and forgiveness 

mended a broken home.  

Death brought my parents together,

for the sake of family.

       I think I see what my brother did.  

Lisa “rubi g.” Ventura (she/her) is a Washington Heights bred, Afro-Dominican poet and creative nonfiction writer. Lisa published "Aprende a pelar platano and other lessons my Mother taught me to be a good wife," "No es lo mismo, ni es igual- Habichuelas con dulce edition, “Amor de Hierro,'' and Emerging from the Cocoon on She also published By 11am on and When my father called me about his Unemployment on “Sensing love in the time of Corona'' was selected for The Billie Holiday Theatre’s 50in50 special edition. You can find her at or @poeta_rubi_g.