Category: Four Women


4 of 4 in a series of short stories inspired by Nina Simone’s Four Women.

My skin is brown
My manner is tough
I’ll kill the first mother I see
My life has been rough
I’m awfully bitter these days
Because my parents were slaves
What do they call me?
My name is Peaches

– Nina Simone

She picked me up with hands full of holes
Her arms were heavy with fat and muscle
Eyes dull, dry, smiling

I ran from their hunger
From those smothering arms
From the rough plains of her hands

I live in the sun
Pulled by it’s gravity into the sky
Everything else shrivels

Feminine voices, skitter and yowl
Stockings rip and heels break
Full of gravel and salt

The sun is alone in it’s meditation
In its daily rounds from horizon to horizon
Burning away the clouds

I yearn for this intensity
The singularity and clockwork regularity
So I soak in the brightness, everyday.


sweet thing

3 of 4 in a series of short stories inspired by Nina Simone’s Four Women.

My skin is tan
My hair is fine
My hips invite you
my mouth like wine
Whose little girl am I?
Anyone who has money to buy
What do they call me
My name is Sweet Thing
My name is Sweet Thing

– Nina Simone

Curled up like a fern, she lay in the silk sheets.
Hair unfurling around her face like poison in water.
Her lips are bruised, swollen and red from passion and blood.
Ready to taste, to drink.

The only lights are yellow and blue.
Cowardly in the dark, they glow softly through the windows.
Some reaches her skin and stains.
Blue, black, and yellow.


2 of 4 in a series of short stories inspired by Nina Simone’s Four Women.

My skin is yellow
My hair is long
Between two worlds
I do belong
My father was rich and white
He forced my mother late one night
What do they call me
My name is Saffronia
My name is Saffronia

– Nina Simone

The winds blew the earth’s sweat into her hair.
Knotting it, in its frustration and fury.
Slaps her face with its cold bitterness.
Salting her loneliness.
Screaming and laughing at her brokenness.

It’s time for her to grow.
But where is the sun?
She turns her leaves out in search of warmth.
Her roots wither in the loose soil.
Unidentifiable. With no identity to solve this.

Without a home.
Her mind takes to wandering.
Between two worlds,
She becomes the soft spoken ambassador.
Translating the conversations.

With this new identity,
And with two soils to delve into
She begins to evolve, speedily.
Murmuring the conversations she must translate.
A valuable ambassador, she is.

Her hair reaches the ground,
and begins to grow upward into the sky.
Reaching its tendrils to become cables of communication.
Scared by the responsibility.

Unsure of her ability.
The wind is screaming still.
Even with a purpose,
She’s still alone.

aunt sarah

2 of 4 in a series of short stories inspired by Nina Simone’s Four Women.
My skin is black
My arms are long
My hair is woolly
My back is strong
Strong enough to take the pain
inflicted again and again
What do they call me
My name is Aunt Sarah
My name is Aunt Sarah

– Nina Simone

Her veins are pulsing tubers that lay under her skin.
Fingers crooked, scarred and stiff as tree roots.
She rests her bandaged head in them.
Becoming still inside.
Containing her eyes within their lids.

The air around her is stale and smells damp.
Yet, the colours inside are bright and vivid.
A collection of yellows, reds and oranges.
The blues behind the window stirs with the wind.
She breathes in the stale.
Exhaling the damp.

She pushes up from the table,
Her arthritic knuckles press against the oil cloth.
She stands up, surprisingly tall.
Her arms, twisted in the ropes of her age,
Are locked at the elbows –
Supporting her weight for a brief moment.

Before her eyes open.
Black holes of amazing gravity.
Her eyes are held securely in place
By the fantastic colours that keep them.
The blue calls her to the window.
Which she opens.