1 Poem by Ciara Miller


From the DCFS Counselor's Office (while chewing Bubblicious Bubblegum)

third grade girl say i pretty
pretty ugly

learned lies ugly
before i ever believed them

mama beat me bloody
til i broke: banjo

still cried
to whitney houston

i want you to see light skin 
think i mixed

believe i believe 
i pretty

doctor ask if i see
that thing

i tell boy in class 
i want to see his thing.

my cousin’s daddy 
say my daddy a nasty thing

i hear you
talk too much

teacher gave me a star
for keeping my mouth shut



Ciara Miller, a native of Chicago, is a poetry MFA candidate and an African American/African Diaspora Studies MA candidate at Indiana University. She has published poems and academic essays in such collections and periodicals as Callaloo, the African American Review, PLUCK, Chorus, Alice Walker: Critical Insights, and Cave Canem Anthology XII.