The Sum of Her Parts

By: Charity Kerrigan

Mary Baldwin University, VA, USA

her eyes, gray pools still and smooth

for a second there is fear.

anger. pain. her memories

dance behind the glass betraying

her for a second I can almost see her scars

the shutters snap shut and she

is a steel statue that will never shatter

her voice, kind and always

laughing, a little too loud a little too

often a little too forced, with words

that get stuck in her throat she swallows

them like rough rocks and keeps her

secrets safe for another day

her skin, pale like winter with soft lines

and creases and freckles in clusters and splatters

and trails, she wears the stories that have changed

her smell is like perfume and powder and

coffee from the cup that is always in

her hands, smaller than mine with

knuckles a little too large “from cracking them,”

she said, “so stop cracking yours”

they aren’t beautiful but they don’t need to be

she’s built walls a million miles tall around

her heart, big enough to save the whole world

but too broken to save the ones who matter most

in a million moments and a million ways I am

her eyes her voice her skin her hands her heart

and that’s OK.


By: Afor Foncham

Mary Baldwin University, Virginia, USA

Her by Afor Foncham
“I was born and raised in Cameroon and moved to the US at the age of 10. Because I’ve been judged so much because of how I look and being African in general, I thought taking pictures and recording videos [would] be the best way for me to express myself and my vision. The whole purpose behind this picture was to show how beautiful black is. It was all inspired by the things I see on social media and hear about black women being loud, ugly, etc. So I took it upon myself to do this shoot with one of my very good friends. I just wanted to capture the structure of her face and the even pigmentation, plus the little flaws about her complexion.” –Afor Foncham, photographer