I watched Ocean read this piece at the Miami Book Fair along with his fellow Ruth Lilly & Dorothy Sargent Rosenberg Poetry Fellowship recipients via this video in December. I weeped all over myself (this poem is at the 41 min mark but I highly rec watching the whole thing). I haven’t been able to get the poem out of my body since. It’s one that will unwind its self underneath my skin until my skin isn’t there to hold it in anymore. Along with the poem, witnessing Danez Smith’s emotional reaction to it…um yeah, both gorgeous gifts, thank you, thank you, thank you.
Kamilah broke me here. This physically hurt to read, breaths caught in throat, one on top of the other on top of the other until snowcapped mountain erected its self there waiting for the sun to peek out from behind a crocheted quilt of gray sky to melt away some of the pressure. I love my mom with my everything & this just hurt… so, so much.
My words don’t matter here, just read it, go.
Amanda Oaks is the founding editor of Words Dance Publishing. Her works have appeared or are forthcoming in numerous online & print publications, including decomP, Stirring, Dressing Room Poetry Journal, Glamour, Elle, Parenting & Artful Blogging. She is the author of two poetry collections, Hurricane Mouth (NightBallet Press 2014) & her co-authored split book, I Eat Crow (Words Dance 2014). She likes poems that bloody her mouth just to kiss it clean.