page contents

POETRY
An Argument for Slaves
Jennifer Jean
Writer of the Month

“Fortunately for the South, she found a race...  inferior to her own, but eminently qualified in temper, in vigor, in docility, in capacity to stand the climate, to answer all her purposes.” ~from John Hammond’s pro-slavery Mudsill Speech of 1858

“We need to understand the motivation and thinking of the buyers.” ~Dr. Melissa Farley, founder of the sex-trafficking survivor advocacy group Prostitution Research and Education

Buyers have been, &
we feed
the economy. &, this kind of ejaculation
keeps us
checked. ‘Cause we’re so much worse other-
wise. & we’ll suffer without
our flesh spent, say the buyers, 
It’s a shame. (It’s a real 

fucking biz—this shame, say the slaves.) 

So, let our laws nurture
our instinct! Our use. Our purchase, say the buyers,
What else
are we good

for? (Poor little pokey     
things, say the bystanders, What else
do they give?) (No-        

thing
argue the slaves
to each other, Because buyers be-
ware

self mastery.)


Jennifer Jean’s debut poetry collection is The Fool (Big Table 2013). Her new manuscript, titled OBJECT, was a finalist for the 2016 Green Mountains Review Book Prize. She is the recipient of Waxwing Journal’s first annual Good Bones Prize, and she received an Ambassador for Peace Award in 2013 for her activism in the arts. Jennifer’s work has appeared in: Crab Creek Review, Rattle, Denver Quarterly, Mud City Journal, Solstice Magazine, and more. She’s Poetry Editor of The Mom Egg Review, Managing Editor of Talking Writing Magazine, and Co-director of Morning Garden Artists Retreats. Jennifer teaches Free2Write poetry workshops to trauma survivors and to sex-trafficking survivors. For more information, visit: www.fishwifetales.com - or follow Jennifer on Twitter and Instagram: @fishwifetales