SALT HILL 22, Winter 2008
BABY BORN WITH HEART IN HAND
Raipur, India, Nov. 2005
The birth, with its brilliant sudden tongue, failed to rattle her. Even with the heart loosed, sliced public from its trembling cup, she remained the daughter of frantic drum. Let them have their scoured steel and questions of smaller souls.
Patricia Smith is the author of five books of poetry, including Blood Dazzler (a 2008 National Book Award finalist) chronicling the tragedy of Hurricane Katrina, and Teahouse of the Almighty, a National Poetry Series selection, winner of the Hurston-Wright Legacy Award and About.com’s Best Poetry Book of 2006. She also authored the ground-breaking history Africans in America and the award-winning children’s book Janna and the Kings. Her work has appeared in Poetry, The Paris Review, TriQuarterly and many other journals, and has been performed around the world, including Carnegie Hall, the Poets Stage in Stockholm, Rotterdam’s Poetry International, the Aran Islands International Poetry and Prose Festival, the Bahia Festival, the Schomburg Center and on tour in Germany, Austria and Holland. She is a Pushcart Prize winner, a Cave Canem faculty member and a four-time individual champion of the National Poetry Slam, the most successful poet in the competition’s history. She teaches in the Stonecoast MFA program at the University of Southern Maine.