Over the past year Vievee Francis has received well-deserved recognition for her latest collection, Forest Primeval, which won both the 2016 Hurston/Wright Legacy Award and the 2017 Kingsley Tufts Award. Her previous book, Horse in the Dark, won the Cave Canem Northwestern University Poetry Prize for a second collection, and her first, Blue-Tail Fly, preceded a Rona Jaffe Foundation Writers’ Award. Since the publication of Forest Primeval, Francis has been working on a fourth collection, and at The Common we’ve had the honor and the pleasure of presenting some of her new poems: “On Leaving the Mountains and Coming to the City I Thought I Left For Good” and “The Beauty of Boys Is” appear in Issue 13, Spring 2017, and “This Morning I Miss Such Devotion” is forthcoming in Issue 14, Fall 2017. Here is “’Moan Soft Like You Wanted Somebody Terrible,’” our Poetry Feature for the month of June.
Moan Soft Like You Wanted Someone Terrible
And if it comes to pass, the would be politician, or the lover,
and what was said was never meant, is now distant
as those moments your desire swirled about you
like new snow, cold and brisk and enlivening, remember
it was you feeling adrift,
misunderstood, calamitous, and alone, you dear,
who so needed the need grew into a rally, a rant
of promises now un-promised –
And the night is a hand slid over your mouth. Demanding
your silence. It surprised you,
the shift, the sudden denial, the smooth indifference –
though truth be told –
there were hints of the turn of weather in the air. Remember?
All that bluster you took
for courage. All of those copperheads you took for care.
Read more from Vievee Francis:
Vievee Francis is the author of Forest Primeval, Horse in the Dark, which won the Cave Canem Northwestern University Poetry Prize for a second collection, and Blue-Tail Fly. Her work has appeared in numerous journals including Poetry, Waxwing, Best American Poetry 2010, 2014, and 2017, and Angles of Ascent: A Norton Anthology of Contemporary African American Poetry. She was the recipient of the 2016 Hurston/Wright Legacy Award and the 2017 Kingsley-Tufts Award.