Kyla Marshell

Relax, Relate, Release

Let us forever cling to the trifecta
of perfect peace, as said in tinfoil
twang, tinny-bright charm left unspoiled,
unstaticked, smooth. And who better
than cheeky-rosed Whitley, peanut butter
on her mouth’s roof, accent glued, to roil
a soul into action? Debutante doily,
centerpiece of what no one expects her

to master: herself. Beauty, unlined
with mind, makes for the breezy
whims of a woman mapped. Hear me roar,
she yelps, thrown to the wolves kept behind
the house. “Come back anytime—it’s easy.”
The lights dim on a boat without oars.


Kyla Marshell’s work has appeared in Blackbird, ESPNw, Gawker, The Guardian, O, the Oprah Magazine, and on the Poetry Foundation website. Her work has earned her Cave Canem and Jacob K. Javits fellowships, two residencies to the Vermont Studio Center, and an MFA in Creative Writing from Sarah Lawrence College. A Spelman College graduate originally from Boston, she grew up in Silver Spring, MD, Morehead, KY, and Portland, ME, and now lives in New York. Her website: