Think I don’t know nothing.Child.Stopped kissing me goodnightwhen she turned fourteen.Well.Every good thingturn to glass.Then break.She ratherstay away.Got my nose.Eyes, too.When she was little,they called her Lil Gail.Bet she don’t remember.She so busywriting things.Don’t tell your businessin front of Tameka.She will put it in a poem.She better notwrite nothingabout me.I rememberwhen I had her.Two and a half pounds.That girl came so fastI had to catch her.I was by myself.Still am.
Copyright © 2019 by Tameka Cage Conley.
All rights reserved.
Reproduced by Poetry Daily with permission.
Tameka Cage Conley, PhD, is a graduate of The Iowa Writers’ Workshop. She currently holds the Provost Postgraduate Visiting Writer Fellowship in fiction and teaches advanced fiction writing at the University of Iowa. As a literary artist, she writes fiction, poetry, plays, librettos and essays. She received a doctoral degree in English in 2006 from Louisiana State University, where she was a recipient of the Huel Perkins Doctoral Fellowship. Her dissertation, Painful Discourses: Borders, Regions, and Representations of Female Circumcision from Africa to America, was awarded the annual Lewis Simpson Distinguished Dissertation Award. She has received writing fellowships from the Iowa Writers’ Workshop, the Cave Canem Poetry Foundation, the Vermont Studio Center, the Virginia Center for the Creative Arts, and the Squaw Valley Writers Conference and Workshops. Her work has appeared in The Virginia Quarterly Review, Ploughshares, Callaloo, African American Review and elsewhere. She is currently at work on her first novel, a family epic that chronicles the untimely deaths of African American men over six decades in Caddo Parish.
Known for its compelling fiction and poetry, Ploughshares is widely regarded as one of America’s most influential literary journals. Each issue is guest-edited by a prominent writer who explores personal visions, aesthetics, and literary circles. Over the years, guest editors of Ploughshares have included Seamus Heaney, Derek Walcott, Rosellen Brown, Raymond Carver, Tobias Wolff, Sherman Alexie, Russell Banks, Lorrie Moore, Yusef Komunyakaa, and Richard Ford.
Many of today’s most respected writers had their first or early work published in Ploughshares, including Thomas Lux, Susan Straight, Carolyn Chute, Edward P. Jones, Howard Norman, Melanie Rae Thon, Sue Miller, Mona Simpson, Ethan Canin, Tim O’Brien, Robert Pinsky, and Jayne Anne Phillips. It’s no wonder, then, that Literary Magazine Review has proclaimed Ploughshares to be “a magazine that has published a good deal of what has become our significant contemporary American literature.”