All in by Ashley M. Jones

by Ashley M. Jones

If I were a woman. If I were a wanted woman. If I were a woman with
soft fingers. If I were on a beach with a man — if he was a man, if a
man can be a man before he acts like a man. If I were on a beach with
a man and he held my hand. If I liked my hand being held, even if it
was held at the wrong angle. If my wrist was wringing in pain but I
kept it there. If my heart were held wrong, like my hand. If I kept it
there. If I was kept. If I was kept in pain. If I were pain. If I were a
woman — if I were a woman before I was a woman. If I were a woman
who knew her body like a woman knows her body. If a woman knew.
If I knew. If I were on a beach with that man — if, this time, that man
dissolved into sand. If the sand became hot under my feet but my feet
were gold. If a woman were made of sun. If I were made of sun. If I
burned the world around me until it shone beautiful and brown. If this
burning was called healing. If the healing made light. 


Ashley M. Jones received an MFA in Poetry from Florida International University. Her debut poetry collection, Magic City Gospel, was published by Hub City Press in January 2017, and it won the silver medal in poetry in the 2017 Independent Publishers Book Awards. Her poems appear or are forthcoming in many journals and anthologies, including the Academy of American Poets, Tupelo Quarterly, Prelude, Steel Toe Review, The Sun, Poets Respond to Race Anthology, and The Harvard Journal of African American Public Policy. She received a 2015 Rona Jaffe Foundation Writer’s Award and a 2015 B-Metro Magazine Fusion Award. Her second collection, dark / / thing, won the 2018 Lena-Miles Wever Todd Prize for Poetry from Pleiades Press and is forthcoming in February 2019. She currently lives in Birmingham, Alabama, where she is Second Vice President of the Alabama Writers’ Conclave , founding director of the Magic City Poetry Festival, and a faculty member in the Creative Writing Department of the Alabama School of Fine Arts.