Shenandoah Volume 68, Number 1
Volume 68, Number 1 · Fall 2018

Yes Yes Dakar, 2018

I hear myself sighing wow. Wow

across years I’ve marveled

at my great-grandmother’s face

emerging from solution

in my own features. The sea

quiets its respiration for me,

smacks wow. Wow in foam, in surf,

in shudder of shore-break. I… I… if

Mama did not come from here—:

how could she not? If I know

how to read…—: am I not

countenanced—: alive?—: as the sea;

as the child in my sight who lies flat on his belly

on a slab of stone overlooking the Atlantic in Almadie.

Young poet, pensive, chin in hand, I was a girl, listening

like you for song. I sang myself in round.

A set. A lull. A set. Like breathing

wow. Wow.

Lyrae Van Clief-Stefanon is the author of Open Interval, a 2009 National Book Award finalist, and Black Swan, winner of the 2001 Cave Canem Poetry Prize, as well as Poems in Conversation and a Conversation, a chapbook collaboration with Elizabeth Alexander. She is currently at work on The Coal Tar Colors, her third poetry collection, and Purchase, a collection of essays. She is an associate professor of English at Cornell University.