Volume 69, Number 1 · Fall 2019

Rhapsody in Pink

at brunch the waiter brings me a drink i did not order
frothed inside a tiny cup                 another hands me

the smallest fork             dainty & infantile beside my
boyfriend’s full cutlery          we go for milkshakes

& the cashier fetches a pink straw for the little lady
my womanhood a second & eternal childhood of its own

unequipped for black coffee or big spoons   protected
from the world’s dangers by the ministrations of men

who sell me razors cast in pink for the tender skin
of my furred legs    thinner pens for my little hands

steady curriculum to install me in my smallness
my damsel choreography    to hold the door open

for the lady     then follow me inside

Safia Elhillo is the author of the poetry collection The January Children (University of Nebraska Press, 2017), which received the 2016 Sillerman First Book Prize for African Poets and a 2018 Arab American Book Award, and a novel in verse, Nima on the Other Side, which is forthcoming from MAKE ME A WORLD/Random House. She is coeditor of the anthology Halal If You Hear Me (Haymarket Books, 2019) and a Wallace Stegner Fellow at Stanford University.