Volume 68, Number 1 · Fall 2018

Derision

Until you arrived with your accoutrements,

white man, causing the girls to cover

their mouths, I was quarreling

with the porridge seller and rocking

this boy to sleep with my stamping

dance—it always works. Don’t be

fooled by my eyes. Sometimes the beginning

of derision looks like fear. Instead

think of these lips opening in

defiance and the music you

will see in my eyes—laughter,

heavy as stones—will pelt you,

Mr. Cameraman. What are

you stealing from my body, sir?

Will you tell me this, now, Sir?


Kwame Dawes is the author of twenty-one books of poetry and numerous other books of fiction, criticism, and essays. In 2016 his book, Speak from Here to There, a co-written collection of verse with Australian poet John Kinsella, appeared. His most recent collection is City of Bones: A Testament (Northwestern University Press, 2017). He is Glenna Luschei Editor of Prairie Schooner, and teaches at the University of Nebraska and the Pacific MFA Program. He is director of the African Poetry Book Fund and artistic director of the Calabash International Literary Festival. He is a chancellor of the Academy of American Poets.