Two Poems

Lyrae Van-Clief Stefanon & Leela Chantrelle

He Seems Different, 1999, from the series Soul Erased, Joyce Scott

                                                                                                                                             High left corner zinnia sun                                                                                           black and white above                            the tilt and grin skeleton inan x-ray purple shirtdress—:Baby boy stands, already knee deepin the hill, both feet in the grave,a sack of bones with sweet straight teeth,the pained grin of the mischievouschild. Curious tilt. Chubby cheeks &forehead shine. Strange grey eyes.The child who bites in the classroom.Wants love but wants to sink hisno longer babyteeth into the subject.He is the subject. He seems different.Subject verb. Seeming looks likeenumerated bones. In future will hebe kept in a drawer? In future hewill be stored. ③ near the clavicle.⑤ over the heart. The mountain holdshis feet. Little feet held in granite. Littlepelvis—: Little fish, what’s leftoverafter dinner? Someone has eatenthe eye. Picked clean mealof scrunch-nosed kora smile—:discarded. Not cement shoes, butstill—LVCS 

The Starry Night

How little it takes to blend in,To become a cloudy night,To watch nipples turn into vague stars,And toes curl into imitations of light—To become a disappointment.We so rarely wonder about the moon's neighbor. How doesThe moonTake up everything?I turn how are youInto a million different questions,Into a conversation,Into a cloudy night.What was needy became a shooting star,What was stumbling out of pain became the sunrise,Became orange glimmers peeking out of something asking and waiting for the answer.Why are so many people being killed,Why am I not,What is in this countryside night that allows me to survive?I would like no permission,I would like to be given nothing.This telescope doesn't work;There's nothing in the sky tonight.LC

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Lyrae Van Clief-Stefanon the author of Open Interval, a 2009 National Book Award finalist, and Black Swan, winner of the 2001 Cave Canem Poetry Prize, as well as Poems in Conversation and a Conversation, a chapbook collaboration with Elizabeth Alexander. She was one of ten celebrated poets commissioned to write poems inspired by the 2015 exhibit One Way Ticket: Jacob Lawrence’s Migration Series and Visions of the Great Migration for MoMA.
Leela Chantrelle is a poet and literature enthusiast hailing from San Francisco, California. She received a Bachelor’s in English and Creative Writing from Cornell University in 2014. After, she moved to Paris, France for a few years and just recently moved back to the United States. Currently, she teaches English at a progressive school in Baltimore, Maryland. Her work can be found or is forthcoming in The Menteur, Sundog Lit, Rattle and other publications. 

Sleepy Hollow, New York

Leading with a Naked Body: Poems in Conversation & a Conversation by Lyrae van Clief-Stefanon & Leela Chantrelle

The sixth in the Conversation Chapbook Series, Master Poet, Lyrae Van Clief-Stefanon mentors emerging poet, Leela Chantrelle and the two record an interview on craft.

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