Larry Kenner turned around

in Mr. Peterson’s 7th grade science class.

You’re a nigger, he said.

No, I’m not. I’m Nee-gro.

That’s what my mom told me to say.

What’s the difference? he asked.


Sometimes my mom made me liver for dinner.

It’s good for you, she’d say,

but the musky, grainy texture

felt heavy on my tongue.

She’d marry it with fried onions,

smother it in ketchup.

No matter how she’d wrap it,

it never went down easily.

My stomach was offended, every time.




Joelle Hannah lives in Moorpark, California with her husband and five children. She teaches at Moorpark College. Joelle has been writing and performing poetry since 2005. Her poems have appeared in The Scribbler, The Night Goes On All Night, Bridges of Fate Anthology, Chaparral, Two Words For, Mothers Always Write and Where I Live. Joelle has performed in various venues throughout Ventura, Santa Barbara, and Los Angeles Counties, including Hollywood Book Fair, Artist Union Gallery, and Personal Stories II.