Eat the Meat & Spit out the Bones / Julia S. Jordan-Zachery


Eat the Meat & Spit out the Bones

poems by

Julia S. Jordan-Zachery

ISBN: 978-1-59948-926-1, 50 pages, $13 (+ shipping)

Release Date: September 7, 2022

The Advance Sale Discount for this title has expired. Those who prefer to pay by check, the price is $17/book (which includes shipping) and should be sent to: Main Street Rag, PO BOX 690100, Charlotte, NC 28227-7001. 


Julia S. Jordan-Zachery is professor and chair of the Women’s Gender and Sexuality Studies Department at Wake Forest University. Her interdisciplinary research focuses on African American women and public policy. She is the author of the award-winning book Black women, cultural images and social policy (2009 Routledge) and Shadow Bodies: Black Women, Ideology, Representation, and Politics (Rutgers University Press, 2017) and a number of articles and edited volumes including Black Girl Magic Beyond the Hashtag (Arizona University Press, 2019). Jordan-Zachery was awarded the Accinno Teaching Award, Providence College (2015-2016). Jordan-Zachery serves as the President of the Association for Ethnic Studies.

Julia Jordan-Zachery has written poems that go beyond bearing witness to testify about what it means to be Black, a Woman and an outsider in White spaces. Her gaze is unflinching, her language is direct and her voice is fearless, unafraid and powerful. ~E.C. Osondu, Professor of English, Providence College. Winner of The Caine Prize.



Eat the Meat and Spit Out the Bones takes us on the speaker’s ancestral and personal journey towards a full self. Jordan-Zachery centers Black women—ancestors known and unknown, friends and frenemies, mothers and teachers, and her own Black girl woman daughter mother teacher self. We are reminded that there is pain and joy in remembering and that restoration is possible. I am excited to see even more of Jordan-Zachery’s creative work on the page. ~Dr. LeConté J. Dill, Associate Professor, Department of African American and African Studies, Michigan State University


Blackened Salmon

after Lucille Clifton’s “Mother Tongue”


True, this new world isn’t paradise.
The calling of the waves, if only a distant memory,
A constant reminder of the pull and push we experience.
We left the crowing cock for the incessant
and jarring sound of the alarm clock.
We replaced our sea egg with their blackened salmon,
trained our taste buds the same way we train
our dialect: de becomes the.
As we search for our milk and honey,
We wrap their children in our bosoms–nannies
Hoping that assimilation
Will protect us
And so, we suckle





Water is my transport,
moving me, from
present to past to future.

Black women’s voices–like water
washing over my ears
telling me, get out the way!

Their songs of resistance
flow through my bones
rousing my soul.

A soul,
brought to the brink by the silence
of those in power, intent on killing me.

Black Women, their voices,
the raft, I’m floating on soothes my soul,
saving me from the clutches of those who thought to murder my soul
who are these women?

They are soul healers,
binding my body after the rapes
making sure that I don’t produce to
feed the machine that’s killing my soul.

They are the keepers of my soul,
they bathe the blood from between my thighs,
press roses to my chest,
encouraging me to open my heart.





Red raindrops
slide from the sky. I’m not shocked
for all our wounds are held there,
sandwiched between the clouds.
All our wounds tire the moon.

Fluorescent waves
flow from the crescent moon. I’m not shocked
for all our sorrows are held there,
cradled in its roundness.
All our sorrows overburden the moon.

The blood of Black women spills
because we dare to possess that curve
between our brown thighs.
Our sorrows, because others are offended —
more than the earth can hold.
It sends our blood to the clouds
and it sends the moon our sorrows —
it is all too much to contain.

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