Bonita Lee Penn

Rosary Prayers


Dyin ain’t pretty. Sure ain’t streets dyin. Pretty ain’t it. In multi-
plex castles, Black women die, wrinkled,   prayin  for   enemies,
rockin dead weight. Praisin hard life.  Lives lonely,  lives. Many
teared eyes,  full drops.  Rough  hands  ain’t   neva  been pretty.
Ironin. Washin. Cookin. Spread table, legs, okra, hominy, mush.
Vines, faces twisted. Eyes red up.  Woulda.  Coulda.  If lovin  a
Black man is a full stomach: malnutrition  stalks  Black  women.
If basics, held jobs. Mothers, so many, on knees. Arched hearts.
Spines bent,  heavy vessels.  Laid down.  Love no  more.  Love
unknown   songs  of  mothers.   Restricted   to   marches.   For
mothered sons. Not plenty lovin.  Black women  lovin  canned
tight. Untouched on sale shelves.  Hardened,  faded.  Run away
lovin.   Caught  in  snared lives.  Chalk  bags  stuffed.  Muffled
screams.   Knuckled  heads,  fists,  faced  palms out.  A  wasted
submission. Lovin  dyin  ain’t  pretty.  Black women’s hearts—


First published in Hot Metal Bridge

Bonita Lee Penn, a Pittsburgh poet, is active in the Pittsburgh literary scene; volunteers as the facilitator of UMBRA/Pittsburgh, a monthly poetry workshop; she is the Managing Editor of the Soul Pitt Quarterly magazine; also, as a member of the United Black Book Clubs of Pittsburgh, she plans and host literary events.  She received her MFA from Lesley University.   Her works have appeared in The Massachusetts Review, Women Studies Quarterly, RUNE Literary Journal, Voices from the Attic, a Madwomen in the Attic Anthology and Hot Metal Bridge.  She is currently in search of a publisher for her most recent collection of poetry.