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About this poet

Saeed Jones was born in Memphis, Tennessee, and grew up in Lewisville, Texas. He received a BA from Western Kentucky University and an MFA in creative writing from Rutgers University–Newark. His debut poetry collection, Prelude to Bruise (Coffee House Press, 2014), which Flavorwire called “perhaps the readiest, most painfully assured debut of the decade,” was a finalist for the National Book Critics Circle Award and was awarded the 2015 PEN/Joyce Osterweil Award for Poetry. Jones has received a Pushcart Prize and fellowships from Cave Canem and Queer Art Mentorship. The executive editor of culture at BuzzFeed, Jones lives in New York City.

Boy in a Stolen Evening Gown

In this field of thistle, I am the improbable
lady. How I wear the word: sequined weight
snagging my saunter into overgrown grass, blonde
split-end blades. I waltz in an acre of bad wigs.

Sir who is no one, sir who is yet to come, I need you
to undo this zipped back, trace the chiffon
body I’ve borrowed. See how I switch my hips

for you, dry grass cracking under my pretend
high heels? Call me and I’m at your side,
one wildflower behind my ear. Ask me
and I’ll slip out of this softness, the dress

a black cloud at my feet. I could be the boy
wearing nothing, a negligee of gnats.

From Prelude to Bruise (Coffee House Press, 2014). Copyright © 2014 by Saeed Jones. Used with permission of The Permissions Company on behalf of Coffee House Press.

From Prelude to Bruise (Coffee House Press, 2014). Copyright © 2014 by Saeed Jones. Used with permission of The Permissions Company on behalf of Coffee House Press.

Saeed Jones

Saeed Jones

Saeed Jones is the author of Prelude to Bruise (Coffee House Press, 2014), a National Book Critics Circle Award finalist and winner of the PEN/Joyce Osterweil Award for Poetry.

by this poet

poem

Her blue dress is a silk train is a river
is water seeps into the cobblestone streets of my sleep, is still raining
is monsoon brocade, is winter stars stitched into puddles
is good-bye in a flooded, antique room, is good-bye in a room of crystal

poem

for Thapelo Makutle

All throat now      already brighter than the stars.

I could hold you in my song. Sotto voce, tremble

against me: a breeze slips in, cools my blood

to garnet      bed stained with stones, cold and finally

useless            I

poem

Boys begin to gather around the man like seagulls.
He ignores them entirely, but they follow him
from one end of the beach to the other.
Their footprints burn holes in the sand.
It’s quite a sight, a strange parade:
a man with a pair of wings strapped to his arms
followed by a flock of