Crowned with a feathered helmet,
Not for disguise or courtship
Dance, he looks like something
Birthed by swallowing its tail,

Woven from a selfish design
& guesswork. As if masked
With a see-through caul
From breast to hipbone,

His cold breath silvers
Panes of his hilltop house
Into a double reflection.
Silhouetted almost into a woman,

He can beg forgiveness now
As he leans against a window
Overlooking Narcissus’s pond
Choked with a memory of lilies.

  • Yusef Komunyakaa, “Pride” from Talking Dirty To The Gods. Originally in Poetry (October 1999). Copyright © 1999 by Yusef Komunyakaa. Reprinted with the permission of the author.

  • Source: The Poetry Anthology, 1912-2002 (Ivan R. Dee, 2002)

Poet Bio

What People are Saying

"POL has opened my mind to many kinds of poetry. Before competing, my experience with poetry was limited to Dr. Seuss. I now find myself making literary references, having analytical conversations with my peers and mentors about poetry, and recalling poems throughout my day."
Mikayla Bates
2016 UT POL Champion