Ars Poetica

Myth by Ekoko Omadeke


Any swan could put his wings around your neck;
hold you down against the river while he honks and flies.

If you're lucky, the baby will be a demi-god or soldier.
If you're unlucky the baby will become an old woman.

Some wolves eat grandmothers. Some girl wears the canines' favorite
color, hands them napkins and finger food at dinner parties,

trains to be a lady while her father watches. These homes
were built over landfills of poisoned fruit and tainted needles.

The witch at the corner spends too much time talking
to mirrors and not enough time looking for a man.

Her sister eyes children strangely, dreams about overweight ones
for breakfast with grits and bacon. On a cicada,

there was a greasy palm and a broken fly swatter.
Deep within a kitchen cabinet someone hid a box.

When it opened, all the handwritten papers drowned
in soapy dishwater. Only the recipe for cornbread survived.

Ekoko Omadeke's poem reprinted with the permission
of the author. All rights reserved.

In celebration of Ars Poetica (2010), Rachel Eliza Griffiths' exhibition of photographs of Cave Canem faculty and fellows, the Poetry Society of America is presenting a selection of her portraits, each one accompanied by a poem from a Cave Canem poet she has captured on film.

As the poet Nikky Finney remarks "Because of her gifted, mindful pressing private eye on us, we discover what we could never completely see before, all around us, could never completely find before, right there in full shadow and slated sun, not even with our own two eyes: All of every bit of who we are."

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