'Horror Story'


 woman, 5’5”

blends in with the night.

can you see her?

quickly walking,

rushing past a group of men

they grab her ass,

because she is just another woman

for them to control. 

she runs, heart racing,

fear and adrenaline pick her feet up for her

she tracks into the night


black so big

and hair so big

could never fit in the back of a cop car,

but there’s somehow room for fear.

red and blue flashing lights cast purple hues of fear

each time,

the story is the same.

if you’re black,

you fit the description

you’re already in the story,

the one that tells itself each time,

the story that you so neatly fit into,

cushioned by fear.


a horror


of a life

is no way to live.


in words echoed by Nina,

I want to live freely,

without fear.


Ieshia Evans protesting in Baton Rouge. Photograph: Jonathan Bachman/Reuters

Ieshia Evans protesting in Baton Rouge. Photograph: Jonathan Bachman/Reuters

artist statement

When I think of horror stories, I think of fear as entertainment. With this poem, I wanted to channel fear as a regular, expected occurrence. I draw upon my gender and race to inform the sorts of oppression I face regularly and how these categories situate me within a broader narrative—a horror story—that’s already been constructed for me by the system at-large, capitalism. Fear is a faithful companion to my life. Nina Simone once said that, to her, freedom meant to live a life without fear. I leave the poem relatively open-ended in terms of what a life without fear—to live freely, to construct your own narrative—would mean. My perspective of freedom necessitates a fundamental change in society. Capitalism needs to go. A new world needs to be reimagined.     


artist bio

Sarah Mamo (they/she) is a 4th-year at OSU majoring in African American and African Studies and Women’s Studies. They are also a poet. Her membership in the International Socialist Organization and the OSU Coalition for Black Liberation underscores their political engagement, which directly informs their poetry. As a firm believer of art as a vehicle for politics and art as a way to envision an alternative world and make sense of our current one, she intends to write poetry and reman committed to activism for the rest of their life. To follow Sarah more, check her out on IG/Twitter @zewmageddon.