For Dark Figures and the Long Way Home

I gave myself back to the sky today in pieces   

She willingly accepted me


The space race made space for me when Earth did not

Made space for Black

Make space Black

Make space the place

To be Black


If given the opportunity I would

Go back to the stars as often

As possible and without cause


Heard stories foretold of dark figures




Creating new moon from soil


Dark figures looking blue                        

In the sun

those who write

From the darkness

That is future


I learned that word

Down here


Where I came from

I learned that down here

It was not possible for me

That dark figures do not

Get futures written about them


I gave myself back to the sky today in pieces

She willingly accepted me

Turned brown skin to onyx meaning

From dust I was formed and to stardust I returned

Bria Iyona Strothers is a graduate of George Mason University, a teaching artist, and currently an MFA in Creative Writing student at Pratt Institute in Brooklyn. She is a Cancer sun who likes to write Black speculative fiction and poetry. Her twitter handle is @freely_poetic



Featured image: Brett Ritchie

Creator Spotlight:
Bria Strothers
Author of “For Dark Figures and the Long Way Home.”

1) What inspired you to write this poem?

I wrote this poem to shine a light on those who are often overlooked in the speculative world. POC writers, and more specifically Black writers, don’t often get the credit they deserve and thus, representation tends to be lacking in the genre. As a Black woman who grew up reading the magical, I have been enamored with not only worlds that are pretty out of the box, but heroes who look like me fighting in these worlds. I live in a realm of Octavia Butlers, Nalo Hopkinsons, and Sun Ras so I wanted to bring that to the page somehow.

2) What do you hope readers take from this poem?

I want to remind people how beautiful, mysterious, powerful, and magical Blackness is. I want readers to encounter this Afrofuturistic feel and really be overcome by the glory of it.

3) To give other writers hope, would you mind sharing with us how many edits and/or submissions this poem has been through?

Before reaching this stage, this poem went through workshop and included two other versions in previous edits. Thankfully, it was accepted for my very first publication ever! Though, it’s definitely been a long journey getting my work published. To my fellow writers, don’t ever stop believing that your words have power. Don’t ever stop trying because you never know what might happen.

4) Recommend something! This could be a book, a short story, a video game, a project you’ve heard about, something you’re working on, etc. Anything that has you excited and that you want people to know about.

Well, right now I’m working on a collection of speculative prose and short fiction, so keep an eye out for that. At the moment, I’m reading N.K. Jemisin’s The Fifth Season and I really enjoy it. I had already heard of the great job she does with worldbuilding, so I picked it up and haven’t been able to put it down since.

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