after safia elhillo.
a kwansaba for my jaw.
i smile too wide in every photo.
my jaw a canal or a femme
the way they know “open” means “empty”
and still they split anyway. my jaw
means “border in gender country.” see:
“jaw line in the sand.” see: “force
of both the river and the dam.”
Mia S. Willis is a Black performance poet from Charlotte, North Carolina. Their work, twice nominated for The Pushcart Prize, has been featured by Palette Poetry, The Offing, the minnesota review, homology lit, Narrative Northeast, Slamfind, and others. In 2019, Mia was named a Lambda Literary Fellow in Poetry, the Young Artist Fellow at Chashama’s ChaNorth residency, a collaborator in Forward Together’s Transgender Day of Resilience Art Project, and a performing artist on RADAR Productions’ Sister Spit 2020 Tour. A two-time Best of the Net nominee, Mia is also the author of monster house. (Jai-Alai Books), the 2018 winner of the Cave Canem Foundation’s Toi Derricotte & Cornelius Eady Chapbook Prize. Their debut full-length poetry collection is forthcoming. Connect with Mia on Facebook / Twitter / Instagram (@poetinthehat).