Hold Me

by | Jul 14, 2022

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.

Katana Smith

Katana Smith

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.