The Emmy Belongs to the Hudson River

4pm on the Empire State Trail, an elderly couple lay swept underneath cherry blossoms. One reads a novel aloud as the other snores into pillowed grass. I wonder if they have ever seen love without interruption. 

Two ducks sunbathe on a hill. A retriever threatens from the base of the mount. One flutters, the other remains firm. I wonder if they ever knew love without interruption. 

Milk petaled flowers strain over the Hudson. I tell my partner about white exhaustion as the breeze wobbles their dainty stems, a white woman sneaks a picture of me in my headwrap. I wonder when petals decide to fade without interruption. 

The frightened mallard floats along the river, the confident one glides to squawk grievances into his ears. Together, they burst from the water and cut into the clouds. Does an omnipresent sky love without interruption?

The deep blue prickles towards the sun. I am deterred by a sea of white faces. One splashes upward, and confidently calls me a different Black name. The awning of discomfort parts the sea. Whiteness craves to dismantle me without interruption. 

The Hudson smothers a plastic bottle against the shore. Sharp edged rocks make a polluted xylophone out of river waste. I watch the erosions longingly and wonder when they have felt love without interruption? 

Busheled trees clash, I wish to skydive into exorbitant green. My self-worth caught between branches. The white gaze webs my tears into the leaves. I wonder where willows weep without interruption.

I perched on a bench to be hugged by the sunbeams, a microaggression plants itself alongside the riverbed. I’m challenged by appropriating lilies floating alongside colonized waters. My ancestor’s home doesn’t know peace without interruption. 

I walk to where the heavens and river meet, and continuously fall for its infinite deception. If the sea sacrifices so much, why do clouds worship the sky without interruption?

The sunset bathes the river in orange. Coupled canoes waft between states. Paddles dip into tangerine ripples. When did two shores last know love without interruption?

Khadjiah Johnson, a Black woman in pink and purple passion twists, smiles while wearing a green dress with pink flowers and plum lipstick.

Khadjiah Johnson is an Afro-Caribbean American multidisciplinary artist from Brooklyn, New York. She’s a writer, comedian, performer and food media creator; you can find some of her work in: OkayDonkey, The Offing, The Best American Food Writing and many more. She’s a Periplus 2022 finalist, a 2019 Best of Net Nominee and currently serves as a Contributing Writer for Black Nerd Problems and Crunchyroll. You can also watch a couple of her produced pieces on Emmy-Award winning show Last Week Tonight with John Oliver (HBO).