Braided Skin is the vibrant telling of experiences of mixed ethnicity, urban childhood, poverty and youthful dreams through various voices. Knight writes a confident rhythm of poetry, prose and erasure by using the recurring image of braiding–a different metaphor than “mixing,” our default when speaking the language of race. In the title poem “Braided Skin,” this terminology shifts, to entwining and crossing, holding together but always displaying the promise or threat of unravelling. This is just as all tellings of family, history and relationships must be–“Skin that carries stories of missing middles.” When speaking about race, Knight raises the question, then drops it, and the image becomes other objects, then abstraction, and memory–finally becoming something “she breathes in” actively.
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