I’m waiting for a white woman
in this overpriced Equinox
to mistake me for someone other
than a paying member. I can see it now—
as I leave the steam room
(naked but for my wedding ring?)
she’ll ask whether I’ve finished
cleaning it. Every time
I’m at an airport I see a bird
flying around inside, so fast I can’t
make out its wings. I ask myself
what is it doing here? I’ve come
to answer: what is any of us?
Born in St. Thomas, U.S.V.I. and raised in Apopka, Florida, Nicole Sealey is the author of Ordinary Beast, forthcoming from Ecco in fall 2017, and The Animal After Whom Other Animals Are Named, winner of the 2015 Drinking Gourd Chapbook Poetry Prize. Her other honors include an Elizabeth George Foundation Grant, the Stanley Kunitz Memorial Prize from The American Poetry Review, a Daniel Varoujan Award and the Poetry International Prize, as well as fellowships from CantoMundo, Cave Canem Foundation, MacDowell Colony and the Poetry Project. Her work has appeared in The New Yorker and elsewhere. Nicole holds an MLA in Africana Studies from the University of South Florida and an MFA in creative writing from New York University. She is the executive director at Cave Canem Foundation.