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White Women’s Tears, a poem by Julie L. Moore



White Women’s Tears
                    for Felicia

We have fallen at the slightest hint
of black-boy threat or smoky censure
wafting its way from the candid
mouth of any woman of color.
We are reflex. We seek redress.
We police pale cheeks, congregating
in the center of some nerve. Call us
any damsels’ names you wish:

Sarah, Mary, Carolyn. In their distress, our dew
drops from the glands of fear, clear
as any whistle or stolen spotlight.
Look how we whet the appetites of men
we weren’t designed to indict.
Our sister is spit. We never run out.

Julie L. Moore, a Best of the Net and seven-time Pushcart Prize nominee, is the author of four poetry collections, including, most recently, Full Worm Moon, which won a 2018 Woodrow Hall Top Shelf Award and received honorable mention for the Conference on Christianity and Literature's 2018 Book of the Year Award. Her poetry has appeared in African American Review, Alaska Quarterly Review, Image, New Ohio Review, Poetry Daily, Prairie Schooner, The Southern Review, and Verse Daily. She is the Writing Center Director at Taylor University, where she is also the poetry editor for Relief Journal. Learn more about her work at