The Academy of American Poets is the largest membership-based nonprofit organization fostering an appreciation for contemporary poetry and supporting American poets. For over three generations, the Academy has connected millions of people to great poetry through programs such as National Poetry Month, the largest literary celebration in the world; Poets.org, the Academy’s popular website; American Poets, a biannual literary journal; and an annual series of poetry readings and special events. Since its founding, the Academy has awarded more money to poets than any other organization.
Tarfia Faizullah is the author of Registers of Illuminated Villages (Graywolf Press, 2018) and Seam (Southern Illinois University Press, 2014). She teaches at the University of Michigan and lives in Detroit.
I worry that my friends
will misunderstand my silence
as a lack of love, or interest, instead
of a tent city built for my own mind,
I worry I can no longer pretend
enough to get through another
year of pretending I know
that I understand time, though
I can see my own hands; sometimes,
I worry over how
My sister died. He raped me. They beat me. I fell to the floor. I didn’t. I knew children, their smallness. Her corpse. My fingernails. The softness of my belly, how it could double over. It was puckered, like children, ugly when we cry. My sister died and was revived. Her brain burst