we ate gumbo last night & / sighed the sigh of the satisfied / we blessed the food & / the hands that prepared it & / the hands that made work easier on our hands / we blessed the stolen land that our ancestors tilled / they themselves stolen from other lands & / knew they prayed to different gods / we then ate in silence / betrayal in our mouths.
Chavonn Williams Shen is a Minneapolis native and an educator. She was the first place winner for the 2018 Beecher’s Magazine poetry contest and as well as the first place winner of the 2017 Still I Rise grant for African American women. She was a 2017 Pushcart Prize nominee, a 2017 Best of the Net Award finalist, a winner of the 2016-2017 Mentor Series in Poetry and Creative Prose through the Loft Literary Center, and a 2016 fellow through the Givens Foundation for African American Literature. Her work has appeared or is forthcoming in The Indianapolis Review, Burningword Literary Journal, Aquifer: The Florida Review Online, and other publications. A Carleton College graduate, Chavonn is currently pursuing her MFA in creative writing at Hamline University.