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  • Writer's pictureNadia Giordana

Shawn Nacona Stroud: three poems

Designer Vanity

This skin is not Prada,

Gucci or Versace—

it was purchased in purgatory

at the Gap Outlet on the corner.

Stitched tight in the flesh suit,

I became a mirror gazer,

a Snow Queen,

how I’ve loathed that cast-back face.

All day stealing into bathrooms

to sneak weary peeks

at my ravished portrait—

watching age etch its many mars.

At first the changes were subtle,

a spot here, a pock there—

the facial geography

slowly shifted with time.

I did anything to be designer then—

washing and washing to fade,

desperately stitching on labels,

and tearing twin holes in my newness.

Never able to copy them properly,

finally, only tatters remained,

and every mirror mocked me—

sticking out its tongue at my attempts.

What a fool my reflection has been,

always focused on what I lack—

regardless we end up pressed together

on the same second-hand rack.


First, I shovel

words, crackling

like churned earth. Forage

deep for those riches

buried in my depths. Then,

sift out pronouns and adjectives

as if grit from oil—perpetually

clogging one’s ingenuity.

Now shall I pan for imagery?

This nugget is a simile, here

a chunk of metaphor. Observe

how dense they both are

rising as they do

to the very top of my mind

when everything else simply sinks—

the clinks of dying lines

striking the bottom.

Their splendor is nearly blinding—

glimmers that speak of wealth and greed

and a need, always such a need

for something other. I’ve struck

gold—poem jazzing up

my page like pyrite.


It was best when I was still

tethered to you, all

weightless and bobbing

as a balloon on its string

frolics in the breeze. Drifting

in my hollowness—helium brained,

sustained in your womb’s atmosphere

where nothing could puncture me

without going through you first, there

I floated protected

until your grip slipped

and the sky opened to receive me.

—Shawn Nacona Stroud is our featured poet in WINK Issue 1.

#poetry #ShawnNaconaStroud

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