Pick-a-Poem: “Little Design”


Happy Wednesday, blog readers! If you’re looking for some new poetry to read, then you’ve come to the right place. Each week, we feature a new poem by a poet whom you probably have yet to discover. These poems come from a great website called Poetry Daily, which you can check out if you’re looking for more to read. This week we’re featuring Little Design by Jamaal May.

According to his bio page, Jamaal May has written two books, Hum and The Big Book of Exit Strategies, both of which were published through Alice James Books. He has won several awards, including the Spirit of Detroit Award, the American Library Association’s Notable Book Award, and the Wood Prize from Poetry. He co-directs OW! Arts with Tarfia Faizullah.

Little Design by Jamaal May

      After Li-Young Lee

I painted my lover
on a lake.
Since then, the fish
bathe her every morning
and slide slippers on her
feet every night.

I painted my lover on a glacier.
Since then, my gloves
are always on,
and all the snow
has become a gallery
whose exhibits are the evenings,
whose plinths
stand unwavering. Sometimes
I tip them over
on purpose
for a chance to exhume the shards.

I painted my lover
under my sternum.
Now she courses through me,
strange ink, little calligraphy
stroke, brilliant well of pitch-black.

A vast constellation-free night
to dip the quill of a tongue into.

I hope you enjoyed this week’s featured poem! For more posts like this, click here.

— Jet Fuel Blog Editor, Mary Egan


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