The Wardrobe’s Best Dressed: Made to Explode by Sandra Beasley

This selection, chosen by Guest Curator Sally Rosen Kindred, is from Made to Explode by Sandra Beasley, released by W. W. Norton & Company in 2021. 

My Whitenesses

Whiteness as my body’s
spent currency:
hair that holds no melanin,
which I pluck out;
an overlong fingernail
that I tear away;
what once blistered,
collapsed flat to my heel.
And what then?
Skin picked, flicked
under my bed—
strands dropped to tile—
the keratin crescents folded,
tucked in couch-crevice.
My performative strip
of self, still
trashing up the place.
Down by Richmond,
how you pronounce a thing
sets stake in the land.
Do you elaborate
a tribe’s Pow-hite?
Or does 300 years
of muscle memory
guide the tongue?
Po’white Creek.
Po’white Parkway.
One man uses cracker
as absolution,
as proof of brotherhood,
while another uses cracker
because someone,
three great-grands ago,
cracked a whip.
Virginia, my ghosts
need gathering.
Come to the table
and sit, goddammit. Sit.

Sandra Beasley is the author of Made to ExplodeCount the WavesI Was the Jukebox, winner of the Barnard Women Poets Prize; Theories of Falling, winner of the New Issues Poetry Prize; and Don’t Kill the Birthday Girl: Tales from an Allergic Life, a disability memoir. She also edited Vinegar and Char: Verse from the Southern Foodways Alliance. She lives in Washington, D.C.

Sally Rosen Kindred‘s third poetry book is Where the Wolf (Diode Editions, 2021). She is also the author of Book of Asters and No Eden, as well as three chapbooks, including Says the Forest to the Girl (Porkbelly Press, 2018). Her poems have appeared in Alaska Quarterly ReviewLos Angeles ReviewShenandoah, and Kenyon Review Online. She teaches online workshops for The Poetry Barn. 

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