Poem of the Month: December

“Poetry is nuclear energy squeezed into lines.”
— Gülten Akın
“Poetry is nuclear energy squeezed into lines.”
— Gülten Akın

For this month, rather than share a winter or holiday poem, I wanted to share a series of short poems by Nayyirah Waheed. I am a big fan of short poems because you don’t always need long narratives to tell a story. I believe there is so much power in words and gifted is the person who can invoke a deep meaning, a moment, or a feeling that is real, truthful, and purposeful in only a few words—as Waheed does. She shows us that sometimes less is more.

 

A Series of Short Poems

by Nayyirah Waheed

 

i am relieved.

when

i see the feminine presence

in a man’s eyes.

it means

he is a peace

i do not

have

to

bring to him.

— ease

 

if you show

someone the sun in your bones

and they reject you

you must remember

they hurt themselves this very same way.

— unable

 

i am mine

before i am ever anyone else’s.

— in

 

i am trying to remember you

and

let you go

at

the same time.

— the mourn

 

you broke the ocean in

half to be here.

only to meet nothing that wants you.

— immigrant

 

even if you are a small forest surviving off of

moon alone.

your light is extraordinary.

— reminder

 

 

(Photograph by Roman Averin found here.)

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