“NDN B-Side Love Poem” & “Love Poem for My God-Ugly Xmas Miracle”
by Kinsale Drake
NDN B-Side Love Poem
Swooning, you split
the persimmon swiped yesterday
from the market,
tap out a rhythm on your countertop.
We sigh to Buffy Sainte-Marie breaking
the lip of morning.
Did you know,
I say to anyone, she was blacklisted
for a lifetime? I wonder if you notice
that I do not pause to define a lifetime.
Last night’s storm has delivered
a mouse’s body from the crick
to the driveway. You are slow
to retrieve this morning’s paper,
so I glimpse you
from the window, bent over
the tiny form. When you return,
you offer me the rind left
on the cutting board, parsed
scrap I add to my inventory
off your offerings.
How many times must love
chase death’s skinny tail
around? We are left kneeling
in the muck for small bodies,
Love Poem for My God-Ugly Xmas Miracle
every winter my mother pulls the dog-angel out—
snarled snaggletooth, eyes spilling from its skull,
its body crude cross-hatch of clay and dull glaze.
with tears in our eyes i retell the story of the only
brown kid in art class failing to make a turtle,
legs too long, belly too round to harden into shell.
when teacher says it won’t dry properly, kid molds
soft mound into body, builds a false head to redirect
eyes. in a rush she attaches a halo and wings, as if they
could make holy and whole. then she brings to her mother
this hybrid of shame, only to learn in translation of belly-laughs—
child is also an ugly-beautiful thing, loved and so given wings
Kinsale Drake (Diné) is a writer whose work has appeared in the Adroit Journal, Yale Literary Magazine, TIME, and elsewhere. She is a current In-Na-Po Fellow, the winner of the J. Edgar Meeker Prize for Poetry, and published in New World Coming (Torrey House Press, 2021), The Languages of our Love (Abalone Mountain Press, 2022), and her zine Hummingbird Heart (Abalone Mountain Press, 2022). She loves Buffy Sainte-Marie, prickly pear, and cicadas.
Amar Lal is a Canadian musician and sound engineer living in Oakland, CA. He spent 10 years in the New York City music scene performing in bands such as Big Ups, Montes Rook, and the Electric Eel Multimedia Ensemble. Amar currently releases music under his own name and runs MACRO, a mastering and post-production studio. You can find him @ummm_r or at www.amarlal.info.