Poetry from NER 37.2
Only God, my dear,
Could love you for yourself alone
And not your yellow hair.
—W. B. Yeats, “For Anne Gregory”
Sister, there was nothing left for us.
Down here, this cast-off hour, we listened
but heard no voices in the shells. No beauty.
Our lives already tangled in the violence of our hair,
we learned to feel unwanted in the sea’s blue gaze,
knowing even the blond lichen was considered lovely.
Not us, who combed and tamed ourselves at dawn,
cursing every brute animal in its windy mane—
God forbid all that good hair being grown to waste.
Safiya Sinclair was born and raised in Montego Bay, Jamaica. Her first full-length collection, Cannibal, won the 2015 Prairie Schooner Book Prize in Poetry (University of Nebraska Press, 2016). She is the recipient of a 2016 Whiting Writers’ Award, the Ruth Lilly and Dorothy Sargent Rosenberg Fellowship from the Poetry Foundation, and a Provincetown Fine Arts Work Center Fellowship. Her poems have appeared in Poetry, Kenyon Review, the Nation, Boston Review, Gulf Coast, Gettysburg Review, TriQuarterly, and elsewhere. Sinclair received her MFA in Poetry from the University of Virginia and is currently a PhD candidate in literature and creative writing at the University of Southern California.
Maria S. Picone is a writer, painter, and photographer who lives in Boulder, Colorado. She studies fiction writing at Goddard College. She loves to volunteer and travel, most recently having done both in a rural village in Cambodia. Her website is mariaspicone.com, or you can follow her on Twitter@mspicone.