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  • Elegy for My Two Step
  • Yalie Kamara (bio)

Before the spirits left me, I used to sway with some sort of lubricated ease inside a dingycrescent of bodies that wreaked of $2 Dickel shots and buzzed with Tinder pheromones.

I've become too slow for the radio tunes that once made me drop it on an Indiana dance-floorwith strangers that never seemed to respect the full moon of a cypher.

This year, I watch the clock and my feet. Under the light of my dining room, there is noshadow to hide my disfigured shimmy.

Yes, I know I am out of place. These days, I am made of the looseness of the liquid I runaway from—a fluid mess—my knees groove in one direction, while my ankles move in the other.

I am so soft and rhythmless, that it's made some of my old friends so mad that they've left me.

Still, I tumble as off-beat as the bareice cubes stacked in my red cup.Yes, peace can look clumsy—I am often a matchstick unable to lightagainst the aggressive humping of humid strangers.I sip-swallow the elixir of my brand new sober spit, while my two heels beg for a more merciful gravity.I dance an ugly dance, but my God it is an honest one.There was a season of my girlhood, that I snapped so joyfully, that I bruised my middlefinger. I hunger for the plum color of my birthright to return.And so I stay indoors. And then I try again.In my apartment, there is no dining table where one should be: I use the wood panel finishof the vacant floor as my greatest teacher. [End Page 48]

I follow the compass needle tick of my own hips to trace how I got over. Such solitary work.I touch my blessed, undying, self.This body and its pewter silhouette against the patient white wall. A hand reaches out— [End Page 49]

Yalie Kamara

YALIE KAMARA is a Sierra Leonean-American writer and native of Oakland, California. She currently serves as Assistant Editor of Black Camera: An International Film Journal. She is the author of A Brief Biography of My Name (African Poetry Book Fund/Akashic Books, 2018) and When the Living Sing (Ledge Mule Press, 2017). Some of her poetry, fiction, and translations have been featured in The Poetry Society of America, Vinyl Poetry and Prose, Puerto del Sol, and Indiana University Press. She was a finalist for the 2017 Brunel International African Poetry Prize, a 2017 National Book Critics Circle Emerging Critics Fellow, and a fellow of the 2016 Callaloo Creative Writing Workshop. She received an MFA in creative writing (poetry) from Indiana University, Bloomington, and an MA in French culture and civilization from Middlebury College. She will begin her doctoral studies in English literature and creative writing at the University of Cincinnati in fall 2018.



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pp. 48-49
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