Endowed in perpetuity by the Glenna Luschei Fund for Excellence

Special ears

Special ears

By Toi Derricotte

I liked him for his tailfin, which was long like a mermaid's &
flowed like a silver blue
ruffle in the water,
larger than you'd expect a little fish's tail to be—

generous, excessive, a bit astonishing, like a girl with too much hair!

Sometimes he would rise like a submarine, straight up, as if he
would nip my finger, get out of my water, his mouth would open
like a little scoop of blackness & let out one bubble, like a smoke
ring of my father's, a message from the underworld.

Prairie Schooner, Vol. 82, No. 3 (Fall 2008), p. 23


a photo of Toi Derricotte

Toi Derricotte is the author of five books of poetry, the most recent being The Undertaker’s Daughter, and a literary memoir, The Black Notebooks, which won the 1998 Anisfield-Wolf Book Award for Non-Fiction and was a New York Times Notable Book of the Year. Her honors include the 2012 Paterson Poetry Prize for Sustained Literary Achievement and the 2012 PEN/Voelcker Award for Poetry for a poet whose distinguished and growing body of work represents a notable presence in American literature. With Cornelius Eady, she co-founded Cave Canem Foundation, North America’s premiere “home for black poetry.”

Return To Table Of Contents