material elements of some years of the artist’s life or fabric, wood, paint, and strings (reprise)

Alexis Pauline Gumbs

amniotic water

bone of daughter

skin of caul

and navel string

mother’s kisses

hair and nails

father’s heat

and bassinet mobile

paradigm of play

side screen door

sugared milk

velcro straps

test scores



lanyards and friendship bracelet thread

pleated uniform blue

monkey bar legs


the word only

the written word

after-school activity

nail polish

a ride home

the quotes printed on the wall

the fall the spring

cranberry juice

and blackness



blog posts





the word wow

my love

where we live

chicken broth


the fabric is validation

the wood is what i lean on

the paint is not sustainable

       the strings are what i need

Alexis Pauline Gumbs is a queer Black feminist love evangelist and an aspirational cousin to all life. Alexis is the author of several books including the forthcoming biography Survival Is a Promise: The Eternal Life of Audre Lorde.
Originally published:
December 11, 2023


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