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Two Poems by Romaine Washington: "Life and Death Speaks" and "On Fire"


Life and Death

my tongue murdered a reputation today.

slithered from behind my white teeth

trampled her life like a withered leaf

on the floor of my mouth.

my tongue feels like a wild lasso of a noose

waiting to hang the worst of who we are.

it tightens about my neck as i reflect

on what i said - unable to take back.

my tongue can taste the blood

of best intentions searing my throat.

forgiveness is not deeds undone,

words unsaid, but reputations restored.

my tongue jabs at the abscess of sorrow

oozing from my gums, a poisoned root.

uprooted i need You to sow Your words

in my mind, nestled in Your peace. i

need You to teach me how to heal

with words, a gift of wisdom.

i need You to rule my heart

so each word i speak is Life.

Proverbs 18:21

On Fire

she dances on fire

and no it’s not

the fire

of firewalkers

mind over matter

flesh unsinged.

her soul is on fire.

she says

it’s Holy Ghost fire

and her feet are moving

through prayers of laughter,

arms raised

fanning flames,

soles unsinged

souls unhinged,

on fire.

she’s a dancin’

like David

she’s got that

Jeremiah fire

burning in her bones.

electrical storms of lightning

fill the air.

i believe

i’m zapped.

i believe

i feel an ember

in my marrow,

movin’ through

my bones,


i believe


i believe

i’m on fire.

“His word was in my heart as a burning fire shut up in my bones” (Jeremiah 20:9).

…”And David danced before the Lord with all his might” (2 Samuel 6:14).


Romaine Washington

Romaine Washington M.Ed. is a certificated high school teacher in California. She is the author of a collection of poems “Sirens in Her Belly,” which was placed on BET’s top 12 must-read list of books for 2016 by editor, Britt Middleton. She is in the process of completing common core lesson plans to accompany the book, which has been adopted by school districts in Southern California.

She has been published in a variety of periodicals and journals as well as reading in a variety of venues and being an active member in the local poetry community.

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