Danielle P. Williams


I come from families where men don’t understand how to
love me I’ve seen their eyes I’ve lied to myself and everyone
else and still can’t seem to get it out of my thick skull It’s not
anybody’s job to love me I don’t think it’s a job at all I’ve seen
more women scarred than I’d like to I hate compliments as
threats Threats as men who should have been protecting me
Don’t you know what love means I come from families who
carry their secrets to the grave And we’ve all just been
endangering ourselves Lives whispering tomorrow away And
I can’t say that any of them know me Though I’ve cried and
stared dead in their eyes Open and shut I shout when I’m
alone and call it thick skin All these familiar hauntings I have
trauma and pain and knots that grind Sometimes I think
about men like fictional characters People who know what
love means Not the men I know God only knows the lives
they’ve lived and buried What other women hurt of them
And everyday I carry them in my worry like sling-stones to
my back I never know who to throw back I never know who
I’ll weep for first                                                    


Danielle is shown before dense green foliage. Danielle has medium dark skin and dark hair in long braids. Danielle wears roundrimmed eyeglasses, large earings of brightblue or silver, a black tanktop, and bluegreen skirt or pants.

Danielle P. Williams is a poet, essayist and spoken-word artist from Columbia, South Carolina. She is a MFA candidate at George Mason University. Danielle strives to give voice to unrepresented cultures, making it a point to expand on the narratives and experiences of her Black and Chamorro cultures. Her poems were selected for the 2020 Literary Award in Poetry from Ninth Letter. Her work appears or is forthcoming in Hobart, The Pinch, Barren Magazine, and elsewhere. For more, visit daniellepwilliams.com.