• Call + Response

Birth by Nagiarry Porcena-Meneus

A poem by Nagiarry Porcena-Meneus, edits featured in her forthcoming poetry book Uphold Voices in Motherhood: Collection of Stories, Conversations, and Reflections.

Photograph by Yuliya Kosolapova


Womb -

Midnight stars opened their mouths

To release birds from the depth of her uterus.

Ocean of push-throughs elevated pitches of screams,

Composed of sweats that console an exhalation of rhythmic pushes.

To lead her ancestors onto womb-like nutrients,

And newcomers to entries of an open tank.

Dug out the open eyes of brown soil and atoms

Through ashes molded by her stretched fingers.

For the crust of her tensed skin.

For a static second unaccounted for,

Of feeling like her breath can erupt

Through the rough patches of dark and unvisited corners.

Of working for two and three lifetimes in one.

Veins inside of her esophagus named each section of her body,

For the gaze of a body that has built closeted memories inside of her womb.

For a heartbeat that immersed itself in the compositions of air.

For a skin of mirroring blood cells.


Push-through -

“I am here”

Emerged out of the density of volcanic air

That sheets of paper write of afterwards.

Of water blown by horns.

Emerged from the concrete footsteps

That has been built for this moment,

Or from scattered ashes that impervious floors held for her.

Emerged and followed by eyes that speak of “I see you”

Or of witnesses that may never happen.

Of chains that are ripped away

Or collectively met with skin-to-skin lovemaking.

Nagiarry Porcena-Meneus is a lover of immersive storytelling, existential celebration, village building, and representation of land-based voices that are commonly muted from legitimacy. She considers writing as her dearest lifelong partner. Her writings have been published in Us by Us Collective, The Hyphen Literary & Art Magazine, Empowered Magazine for Black Student Union at Temple University, and Blink Haiti. Porcena-Meneus published her first poetry book, Uphold Voices in Motherhood: Collection of Stories, Conversations, and Reflections.