Stop what you’re doing right now & read “Civil Rights Cold Case #62 (Or The Yellow Dress” by Lolita Stewart-White.
Your favorite yellow dress is what you wore the night
before you died. The one with the hand-stitched,
blood-red roses, passed on to you by Miss Cora Lee…
After you read that brilliant poem, I would suggest you follow it up with two brilliant essays. The first of which is “Going Cyborg” by poet Jillian Weise.
On my birthday a few years ago, I taught class, called the guy I was sleeping with and then became a cyborg. I didn’t know I was becoming a cyborg. I thought I was just getting a new leg. I’ve had 12 artificial legs in my life. The prosthetist said this leg would think 1,000 times per second about the ground. My parents said if I wanted the new leg, I better act fast. I was being released from their insurance. The guy I was sleeping with, Henry, said the new leg sounded hot, like something out of “Blade Runner.” But I had never seen “Blade Runner.”
The second essay is “Listen” by Ada Limon.
Sometime around 2AM in the canyon dark, no moon, the house wailed open with a guttural yell that shook me awake on the couch. In an instant I knew what it was, that painful loud bellow that echoes around the quiet night like a siren long after the fire’s gone out. For years, this is how my stepfather, B, awakes from a bad dream. A violent yell that makes my heart beat so fast that I can’t sleep for hours afterwards. When I was a kid, I remember him coming into my room to make sure I knew he was okay. “It was just a dream,” he would tell me, “go back to sleep.” He never talked about the nightmares, but we knew what they were about.
And if you love creative nonfiction as much as I do, might I suggest you read Zeitoun by Dave Eggers?
Okay. Talk to you later.