& If You Asked Me What Heaven Looked Like


& Probably Not This Lifetime But Also Maybe This Lifetime


& A Table In The Face Of My Enemies


& An Ode To All My Dead


poem by Chavah Gabrielle  hand lettering by Rose Percy

Psalms 23:2-4

(2) they make me lie down in green pastures. they lead me beside still waters; (3) they restore my soul. they lead me to paths of righteousness for their names’ sake;

(4) though I walk through the shadow of the valley of death, I shall fear no evil.

& as a child, i did not know
the name of the verse
but the words always stick to
the roof of my mouth like peanut butter
in fear


& as a child, i did not know phrases such as
“autonomy” &
“accessibility politics”
i did know battery, bloody limbs & the deep desire to escape
& that there is a truth–even before i knew the words to know
which is, i cannot be free
if i only free myself


& as a child, i would stare at the stars– all my heroes are dead & must live there


& someone said “heaven” to me once in a dream
& the desert became foliage
& Tubman came to me, she said
“eat, child. the first step to knowledge is fear & the valley is approaching”
& i feel i am preparing for a great loss, as though something in me may be dying
& after i lose everything, i feel we will win
& Tubman’s last words were “i go prepare a place for you”
& i believe this
in the dream, Tubman takes my hand
in real life, it’s a seizure


in both,
i see green pastures
children laughing

i would say heaven has clean drinking water and no one gets lost & you can chase the
rivers & waterfalls & the fires only hold you. i would say, heaven tastes like warm honey.
i would say heaven smells like sage & juniper & citrus & black african soap.
here, in heaven, all that is dead & all that is not dead meet

Related Opportunities


Chavah Gabrielle
chavah gabrielle is a literary & performance artist. the 2nd Saint Paul Youth Poet Laureate. Author of Bodies I Am Willing to Worship. A modern aromantic romantic poet. As an organizer, they are striving to create spaces of equity & kindness. chavah seeks sustainability, challenging the idea that we can only create growth and change in one way. With a focus on community wellness, care, reproductive justice, and liberation, chavah strives to live by Carol Hanisch’s words, “the personal is political.” chavah carves out spaces where everyone — but especially women and femme persons of color — can enter with their full selves.
Rose J. Percy
Rose (she/her/hers) is a third-year Masters in Divinity student at Boston University School of Theology and a licensed minister. As a scholar-activist, Rose studies and teaches at the intersections of culture, justice, race, ethnicity, and theology. Rose currently serves as an adjunct professor, teaching in an intercultural studies program, focusing on antiracism, church resistance history, and liberation theology. Rose is passionate about many artistic mediums including poetry, prose, music, and hand-lettering.
Jerome Rankine
As Editorial Director, Jerome is the keeper of Pollen’s editorial voice and vision. He works with Pollen’s talented stable of writers to produce stories that entertain, enlighten, and invite readers to take action. Jerome spends a lot of time hunched over keyboards--either editing the latest Pollen feature, or composing music in his home studio. He’s active in local politics, less active on social media, and more active in his kitchen.
Melanie Walby
Melanie Walby is the Design Director of Pollen Midwest who joined our team after working at various ad agencies in Minneapolis. Her illustration, typography and design bring stories to life in collaboration with our freelance network of illustrators and photographers. She's a former board member of AIGA Minnesota, was recently named one of AdFed’s “32 Under 32”, and has been featured in Communication Arts, blackswho.design, and Adobe Creative Jam. Melanie’s work is driven by a deep understanding of how art and design moves people towards social change.