Blue Gray Violet Wheel, Yvonne Estrada
On the train a man tells me I look just like his daughter.
He crosses many feet to say this: you look just like my daughter.
He shows me a photo to prove it. He wears a reflective vest:
maybe a construction worker, or a traffic conductor. My father
does not really look like him, but I am always looking for a man
like him to stand near on train platforms. I am hoping
some familiarity will hold me to them. Be my father. I am weak,
or I look weak. Men on planes wordlessly lift my bags from my hands and wait
for thank you. A woman asks for a photo in front of our terminal sign.
She hands me her phone and poses beneath gate twenty-two. I wonder
who the photo is for. I take it. Really, I look like my twin, my sister,
but there is a way any Black girl can become any Black girl’s twin,
her reflection. Once, with my father, I saw Barack Obama speak
in Civic Center Park. A man took a photo of him: the then-senator
reflected very small in my father’s dark sunglasses. I watched him take it.
Publab Fellow 2022
Katana Smith is a poet from Aurora, Colorado. She is a graduate of Knox College and a McNair Scholar. At the moment, she is a graduate student in the MA+MFA program at Northwestern University. Her poetry has appeared in Tupelo Quarterly, Tyger Quarterly, and elsewhere.