my breasts as list

Image © Deborah Johnson 2020

by Fullamusu Bangura March 11, 2020

1. in ninth grade, my chest peaked and i considered hijab for the first time. my hair fried from the hot comb, a chest unhidden through layers of thick, green army cotton blend uniforms. a boy told me he liked me because he could grab my ass in the hallways and i wouldn’t fight back.
2. in sixth grade, they hugged me to squeeze their large frames between my budding breasts. one boy tried to claim my best friend’s virginity two years later. when he died, i flinched and forced myself to cry. him, still a somebody stuck to my ribs.
3. my aunty christiana had a body men left their wives for. when i visited one summer, hips unchecked and underarms sticky with dc sun, she found me out. laughed at my lopsided breasts and pulled a wad of tissue from beneath my shirt. i never faked my chest again.
4. stretch marks are almost always called war scars. an omen of things to come.
5. (redacted)
6. i woke up twelve years older and a foreigner to my body.
7. so much of childhood is training the body.

Fullamusu Bangura is a poet originally from Washington, D.C. and currently residing in Chicago, Illinois. Her work has been published in The Gumbo, Peach Mag and Apogee Journal. Connect with her on Instagram and Twitter at @killamusu.


Deborah Johnson tells stories through visual art, poetry, comedy, and writing. She graduated from Oberlin College in 2018 with a degree in political science. Her art is centered around her identity as a queer woman of color and immigrant experiences. She hope to create spaces that are supportive and centered around healing and unlearning.


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