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Thiahera Nurse

Hennypalooza 2016

after Jay-z’s, U Don’t Know
after Kanye West’s Take One For The Team
for Michele St.Julien

Me and my homegirl Michele wear dresses made of suede —
our braids swayed waist-length against the current of niggas fiending and fawning

at the wedge of our black stiletto heels. No. Our shoes are not bloody
& we smell like ghetto-bitch in the key of Love Spell. We drink a fifth of Henny

all to ourselves. My unabridged mouth covers the neck of the glass bottle
that I pass with my left to my right-hand. She holds both my hands in the club

when my schizophrenia rears its ugly head against the epileptic
strobe lights. A rapper on stage screams into the mic: they aint know/

I had the glock/now everybody getting shot/everybody getting shot & the ricochet
sounds real in my head, so I dive underneath the beat.

My palms clap both my ears like two gold plates of a cymbal.
Wore two gold chains like a sex-symbol, but I feel cheap

in my Instagram dress. So much coke in me, my blood could run
the slalom. I remember the suicide note I keep

in my purse and I sink into the dancefloor. My knees buckling
to the tune of Dutty Wine. Tony Mattterhorn: the discography

of my personal apocalypse. I dance until there is no more water
left in my body. Until there is no more self-harm left

in my little body. I dance until all the men fall out of this body.
But there is one name that I can’t shake, not even with the weight

of my hips. I call him from the bathroom, higher than I’ve ever been.
His voice is sturdy like the floorboards of a Catholic church. He is bored

with my unoriginal tears, the mental illness, my perforated brain.
Later on that night he fucks me as charity, and I feel ashamed.

Low as I am, Michele lifts my chin with her finger to the sky.
Heads High. Kill him with it. Kill him with it. Kill him with it.

She sings until I smile. She love every tooth in my blunted-up mouth.
She love every earned nap in my tender head.


Thiahera Nurse is from Hollis, Queens by way of Trinidad and Tobago. She received her MFA in Poetry at the University of Wisconsin-Madison She is a proud member of the fourth cohort of First Wave at the University of Wisconsin-Madison. Her work can be found in The Rumpus, Callaloo, The Offing, and in the forthcoming edition of The Breakbeats Poets Anthology. She has received support from Callaloo, Tin House, and the Pink Door Retreat. She can be found writing sonnets about Ja Rule quietly in her room. She writes for the black girls.


See full list of 2018 Emerging Poets Fellows