Poems by Soyini Ayanna Forde

Image courtesy of Ashley Rose. Shared via a Creative Commons license.


A Hole in the Sack of Desire

You say you cannot kiss
the crooked staircase
of my back
and not feel sad.
How it clacks something awful—
like dry spaghetti
when I arch
how it bows like the bones
don’t want to hold
up my skin anymore.

My eggshell back
my carrier of malady
blessed betrayal of symmetry
my knapsack of love.

Pick your face up, lover
from the wet cave of my stomach
soft as ripe pommerac meat,
feel how I am cleaved
at the curve.
Mapping desire
up and down the gnarled column
of my back
over your longitude of vein,
how you raise and read the braille
of my pores.
Some seepage
is a dirty stain, some you curl
towards your lips,
suck softly at
in remembrance.





I want you to be comfortable
in your own skin,
you said.

Stop squirming, doubting yourself,
clawing as you try
to remove it.

You are beautiful, you know,
you said. Dancing kisses down
on the crown of my head.
Arms folded around me,
wingspan like a fox bat.

Then you pick up my skin, dark
smelling like shea butter and vanilla,
so carefully flayed from my bones
and re-dress me as myself.




                   for my mother

Girlchild eats chalk; spine grew strong
and teeth, from grinding cylinders
to dust. Apple shaped dark brown knees—
the first time I saw you in myself—

follicle pattern of thigh.
I can still hear the sound
of Kaieteur, channeling
through conch shell of throat.

Who builds snug cocoons for dreams
with threadbare fiber. Pulls razorblades
from her pockets, helps them—struggling,
buoyant, to be free.



Soyini Ayanna Forde is a writer, feminist and tea drinker from Trinidad and Tobago. She has had work featured on Racialicious, inside Black Renaissance NoireThe GuidebookThe Caribbean Writer, Small Axe Literary Salon, St. Somewhere Journal and in Tongues of the Ocean.  Her first poetry chapbook is forthcoming from Dancing Girl Press.