National Poetry Month Day 14: Karisma Price






Looking at Houses on Zillow I Know I Can’t Afford, I Hurt My Feelings

Let’s not act like I haven’t been hurt before. This will not be
the last time I have learned how to speak in circles. Here
are the silver bells lining the streets like good children again
and again, tiresome at the foot of wanting. I drive in circles.
Concern is the thesis of my body. When I am driving away
from my position at the university after teaching
“A Position at the University,” I know what I have made
of survival: centered in the hall of a house whose style
is fearfully Antebellum and faces the Avenue where a streetcar
trots the tracks like a threat, the woman in a circle
of people I just met asks me why I am not
afraid. Black people with guns. The reenactment
of a slave rebellion is marching through our streets.
Listen, I am a good pair of skull and bone
walking this earth. I’ve seen nothing.
Nothing is true until you can see it in the mirror:
The whites of your eyes, the darkness under it.
I am here now, and I ghost your living. Long live
the craters here, now in the streets, under the moon.
I was told this week we’ll be met with the conjunction
of stars. I will miss it, these stars, these boils,
the advisories, the lead in the houses people touch
to say they’ve touched history. North, I whisper
as I think of the friends I have left in winter’s hand.
I hope not to lose them, my fingers tracing circles
around my heart, this chest, the OCD that circles around it.
I’ve circled listings for the neighborhood I’d like to earn
my way back in with the cursor of the computer I borrowed
from campus. I came back. Yes, I know. I’m concerned too.



Author photo courtesy of author

Karisma Price is the author of I’m Always So Serious (Sarabande Books, Feb 2023). Her work has appeared in Poetry, Oxford American, Indiana Review, Four Way Review, Academy of American Poets Poem-A-Day Series, and elsewhere. She has received fellowships from Cave Canem and New York University, was a finalist for the 2019 Manchester Poetry Prize, and was awarded the 2020 J. Howard and Barbara M. J. Wood Prize from the Poetry Foundation. She is from New Orleans, and holds an MFA in poetry from New York University. She is currently an Assistant Professor of Poetry at Tulane University. More from this author →