By Patricia Smith
I was birthed restless and elsewhere
gut dragging and bulging with ball lightning, slush,
broke through with branches, steel
I was bitch-monikered, hipped, I hefted
a whip rain, a swirling sheet of grit.
Scraping toward the first of you, hungering for wood, walls,
unturned skin. With shifting and frantic mouth, I loudly loved
the slow bones
of elders, fools, and willows.
Patricia Smith, “Katrina [I was birthed restless and everywhere]” from Blood Dazzler. Copyright © 2008 by Patricia Smith. Reprinted by permission of Coffee House Press. www.coffeehousepress.org
Source: Blood Dazzler (Coffee House Press, 2008)
Patricia Smith has been called “a testament to the power of words to change lives.” She is the author of six books of poetry, a mystery writer, a historian, a journalist, a performer and children's book author. She is a 2014 Guggenheim fellow, a two-time Pushcart Prize winner, recipient of a Lannan fellowship and a four-time individual champion of the National Poetry Slam, the most successful poet in the competition’s history. Patricia is a professor at the College of Staten Island and an instructor in the MFA program at Sierra Nevada College.
More By This Poet
Arlene learned to dance backwards in heels that were too high.
Bret prayed for a shaggy mustache made of mud and hair.
Cindy just couldn’t keep her windy legs together.
Dennis never learned to swim.
Emily whispered her gusts into a thousand skins.
Gotta love us brown girls, munching on fat, swinging blue hips,
decked out in shells and splashes, Lawdie, bringing them woo hips.
As the jukebox teases, watch my sistas throat the heartbreak,
inhaling bassline, cracking backbone and singing thru...
More Poems about Nature
What Women Are Made Of
We are all ventricle, spine, lung, larynx, and gut.
Clavicle and nape, what lies forked in an open palm;
we are follicle and temple. We are ankle, arch,
sole. Pore and rib, pelvis and root
and tongue. We are wishbone and gland and molar
Of Tribulation, these are They,
Denoted by the White.
— Emily Dickinson
in the split geode
a Santa’s grotto
every surface —
like sea urchins’ —
in the doorways
sleepers from the womb
to make of anything succulent