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.
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.