Nicole Sealey

from "Cento for the Night I Said, ‘I Love You’”




Dying is simple—



the body relaxes inside



hysterical light



as someone drafts an elegy



in a body too much alive.



Love is like this;



not a heartbeat, but a moan.











[Yves Bonnefoy, Tina Chang, David Wojahn, Nick Laird,

Simone White, Catherine Barnett, Vladimir Mayakovsky]




One life is not enough



to remember all the things



marriage is. This town at dawn



can will away my lust



to suck honey from the sunlight,



so why am I out here trying



to make men tremble who never weep?











[Khaled Mattawa, Tracy K. Smith, Ed Skoog, Alice

Walker, Pablo Neruda, Adrienne Rich, Percy Shelley]




Can you see me



sinking out of sight



in the middle of our life?



Should I be ashamed of myself



for something I didn’t know I—



(He walks by. He walks by



laughing at me.) “What else did you expect



from this day forward?” For better or worse.












[Brenda Shaughnessy, Kazim Ali, Brenda Hillman, Valzhyna Mort, Blas

Falconer, Theodore Roethke, Kahlil Gibran, Rita Dove, Brigit Pegeen Kelly]


Born in St. Thomas, U.S.V.I. and raised in Apopka, Florida, NICOLE SEALEY is the author of Ordinary Beast, forthcoming from Ecco in fall 2017, and The Animal After Whom Other Animals Are Named, winner of the 2015 Drinking Gourd Chapbook Poetry Prize. Her other honors include an Elizabeth George Foundation Grant, the Stanley Kunitz Memorial Prize from The American Poetry Review, a Daniel Varoujan Award and the Poetry International Prize, as well as fellowships from CantoMundo, Cave Canem Foundation, MacDowell Colony and the Poetry Project. Her work has appeared in The New Yorker and elsewhere. Nicole holds an MLA in Africana Studies from the University of South Florida and an MFA in creative writing from New York University. She is the Executive Director at Cave Canem Foundation.


Photo credit: Rachel Eliza Griffiths