Summer 2002 • Vol. XXIV No. 3/4 PoetryJuly 1, 2002 |

Hagar to Sarai

Don't give me nothing in exchange for a beating in my belly, sore nipples way after the sucking is gone. Don't thank me for my body, a fine drinking skin turned inside out for you. Don't thank me for the back that don't break from Abram's weight. I know what you need—a baby's wail in the morning, smile on your man's face, his loins full of much obliged. I know what you need; don't give me your grief to help this thing along. I know how emptiness feels. Woman, I know how to make my own tears.

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Photo of Honorée Fanonne Jeffers
Honorée Fanonne Jeffers is critic at large for the Kenyon Review. She is the author of four books of poetry, most recently, The Glory Gets (Wesleyan, 2015), and the forthcoming novel, The Love Songs of W.E.B. Du Bois (Harper, 2021). She has received fellowships from the Aspen Summer Words Conference, the Bread Loaf Writers’ Conference, the National Endowment for the Arts, and the Witter Bynner Fellowship through the Library of Congress, as well as an award from the Rona Jaffe Foundation and the Harper Lee Award for Literary Distinction, a lifetime achievement award. She is professor of English at the University of Oklahoma in Norman.

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Inspecting a Region of Converging Territory (Including Parts of Georgia, Alabama, & Tennessee), Which Contains Three Different Places Named “Etowah,” Where I am Trying to Locate the Birthplace of My Paternal Great-Great Grandmother Mahala Anderson Flippin, Who May or May Not Have Been a Cherokee Woman

By Honorée Fanonne Jeffers

Don't give me nothing in exchange for a beating in my belly, sore nipples way after the sucking is gone. Don't thank me for my body, a fine drinking skin […]

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