On May 7, 2020, the Prechter Program had planned an Evening of Poetry as part of our art exhibit ENERGY – Brain Health and the Power of Creative Expression. The original plan was that published poets would read poems focused on bipolar disorder and depression. However, due to the COVID-19 pandemic, this event, like so many others, had to be postponed to May 2021.
In the interim, we wanted to feature on our website some of these amazing poets.
Daniella Toosie-Watson is a poet, visual artist, and educator from New York. She has received fellowships and awards from the Callaloo Creative Writing Workshop, the InsideOut Detroit Literary Arts Project, The Watering Hole, and the University of Michigan Hopwood Program. Her poetry has appeared in Callaloo, Virginia Quarterly Review, SLICE, and The BreakBeat Poets Volume 4: LatiNext. Daniella received her M.F.A. from the University of Michigan Helen Zell Writers’ Program.
We are featuring Daniella's poem A Series of Small Miracles. The poem was published in The Paris Review.
A Series of Small Miracles
after Ross Gay after Gwendolyn Brooks
I stepped outside & the chill
kissed my forehead but only after I gave permission
& afterwards I was still okay with the touch
& when I returned to my apartment, I was okay
with the leaving. But we aren’t there yet.
My neighbor walked by with her dog,
stopped to let me pet her & thanked me
for doing so. & listen, now I will tell you:
today, my room is warm.
I sit on my bed. I lift my shorts.
I notice the crease between
my thigh & lower belly,
trace my finger between that small valley
& I say it is good. I notice my thigh, its generosity,
squeeze the fat of it. Slap it one time for good
measure. Listen: in this poem, there are no men.
I give to myself & give again.
I cup my small breast
& I’m thankful— there is no one here
to tell her that she does not have enough to give.
I play a record & my mind is clear to hear it.
Today, I lie in bed all afternoon
& it is my choice.
I breathe in & the breathing is simple. I breathe out—
a mango grove fills my room. I crawl into a cradle of branches.
I rest my head on a bunch of mangos. Yesterday, I heard
someone call out Sorrow & I did not turn my head.