National Poetry Month: Begin With A Failed Body

In honor of April being National Poetry Month, we’ve decided to post poems from our most recent anthologies. This week we are highlighting Begin with a Failed Body, poems by Natalie J. Graham and selected by Kwame Dawes. They are poems that consider the body as a site for revelation. Begin with a Failed Body is the winner of the Cave Canem Poetry Prize. Graham_BeginWithaFailedBody

Ophelia by Water

Even with the buzz and prick of summer,
what thumped in her brain
was not the pulse of a dark thicket,
the frenetic crescendo of cicadas,
but snippets of verse that sounded sacred.
She turned away from noise,
cooling her hem in the current,
washing a hand over her face.
Lit from within,
she was a candle to the cerulean shadows
perched on the edge
of a black tangle of climbing vines.
She waited, a doll half wooden and half glass.
Later, the sky would shiver under autumn’s black hood,
all pinpricked iridescent, cold air floating
in ghostly currents.

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