Lauren Michele Jackson

three-fifths; or, annoyance in an age where we laugh at little black girls handed over to the Devil


It’s not unusual to be loved


in a love like the grope of

the wrinkled father whose


actions out our nation’s

pageantry and filiation —



Something happens to

little black girls delivered


bottom first to the open

arms of the old-young men


whose skin shutters hope,

yet breaths benediction.


(for many, not us)


It’s not a hand off, maybe

an intimate destruction.


(little girls never ask to be held)


She — not me, yet felt

and understood — is


taught the lessons I

retch daily:


1/ you are a child, until

2/ your body is needed to serve a higher purpose.

3/ your needs are not so inconvenient as as your wants, but

4/ your mind belongs to science and sociology.

5/ you are given but you are never a gift.

6/ you exist as real as the bird and more than the bee.

7/ vibrance is your vernacular.

8/ you are beautiful.

9/ you are loved.



Lauren Michele Jackson was born in Batavia, Illinois and currently lives in Chicago. She is a PhD candidate in English at the University of Chicago and contributing editor of The New Inquiry. Her work has appeared in or is forthcoming from The Atlantic, Hayden’s Ferry, The Journal, and The Point among other places. She tweets for the culture at @proseb4bros.