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

"I learned that no matter how many times I do it, I will still be nervous when I speak in public. I also learned that it is possible to experience the same poem many times in a row and still feel like I am discovering something new about myself through the words of the writer."
Madeleine Schroeder
2017 OH POL Champion