The Uncanny Valley

After Kara Walker’s “A Subtlety” at the Domino Sugar Factory
Brooklyn, 2014

They came in between me and the Sugar Baby.
A marvel. Inside a moment of prayer.

Flick of blonde hair. Phone in my face: Take our photo?!

“Repeat Repeat Repeat”
Kara Walker, Do You Like Crème
in Your Coffee and Chocolate in Your Milk?

Right here. Still wet air.
No space.
Smiles and crass. Snaps of our nipples.
                             Our ass.
                             Your mammy.
                             Our matriarch.


This is hip. This is art.
This is it

molasses. Blanched white.

You won’t?!
you girls, like, always need a fight!

“…the romance of it,
the storytelling—it was so rich
and epic, and that was what I hadn’t
expected. I hadn’t expected to be titillated
in the way that stories like that are meant to
titillate. And, at the same time, it was so much
fodder for the work that I wanted to do.”
—Kara Walker,
on exploiting the exploitation in Gone With the Wind

This is church. This is collateral. This is holy terrain.
I am ekphrasis, imbued to the frame.


“The Uncanny Valley” is from Running to Stand Still. Copyright © 2019 by Kimberly Reyes. The poem appears with the permission of Omnidawn Publishing. All rights reserved.

About this Poem

This poem appeared in the Re:Print section of American Poets, Fall-Winter 2019.