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

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"Even people who don't particularly enjoy most forms of poetry can still find a poem that they enjoy AND be very good at reciting if they set their minds to it. What makes poetry so appealing is its ability to describe all sorts of different aspects of the human experience in a new and unique light. There is a poem out there for everyone. Even my dad...maybe."
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2016 NH POL Champion