Two Poems by Diamond Forde

by Leslie Anne Mcilroy

There's No Praise in Me for Me

Not even in the semi-
halo of my finger-

nails: its Byzantine
arc of gold-rose-gold,

just there. I know
the stars of my body,

constellations hot
at my hips’ wide hem,

but when the dark
gnaws the nectar

of my lips, I can’t speak
blessings about me.

Obedience forbids self
love, and I am so good

to you. If you asked,
I would peel my skin

in strips to stitch a vest
for you. I would

altar out my spine
to worship your knees,

or crown your crown
in fingers and teeth—

look at all the good
I have to give. 

An Address to My Pain

What a fellowship, your certain return
at an uncertain hour:

before I settle to bed, before the croissants
have flaked across my plate, before

I spritz the last bit of cucumber mint
soap into my palm—whenever

your fingers want to needle
a staccato across my groin.

I’m no longer sure what self exists
without you. Or before.

My birth the first
of many un-homes

from a body I was sure was mine.
I have a habit of proselytizing

you. You are always reminding me
of my vanity. I talk too much

about what I deserve
and it is never you.     

There is so much I do not know
about you, or myself,

though I’m always asking
what is wrong with me? when you take

what I want: one moment
not attached to a hot pad and a prayer.

I ask what is wrong with me
because I know

no one should feel you
as often as I do.

I have stopped locking doors
you find a way through anyway.

I guess this makes you a friend.
A North Star through the travel

of my days, your ever-present light—
these lines the closest I have to praise.

Photo of Diamond Forde

Photo of Diamond Forde

Diamond Forde enjoys fish and grits, 90s R&B, and the whole month of October. She is a third-year MFA candidate at the University of Alabama. She’s a former Tin House and Callaloo fellow, whose work has appeared in The Offing, Winter Tangerine, Massachusetts Review, and others.