American Life in Poetry: First Green

Kwame Dawes. Courtesy photo.

Though born and raised in Jamaica, Stacy Ann Chin has lived in the United States for many years, long enough to have become naturalized to the seasonal patterns of the temperate climates of the northeast.

In “First Green” she uses words to paint a surrealist study of the changing season. Her images present like the speckling of a painting, each new image morphing into another fresh and distinctive image, ending with the promise of warmer days.

No doubt, Chin’s body still hungers for her warmer beginnings.

First Green
By Stacy Ann Chin

Earmark me images
speckles pretty
with the tears of a child

open windows and summer
ominous air-marked with the first green

over-turned poems
mouths tinkling humor

pages rustling
sensible shoes

they unwind me
orange and gray laces

you/me entwined/separate
ice cream hinting the weather

may soon be

American Life in Poetry does not accept unsolicited manuscripts. It is made possible by The Poetry Foundation, publisher of Poetry magazine. It is also supported by the Department of English at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln. Poem copyright ©2019 by Staceyann Chin, “First Green” from Crossfire (Haymarket Books, 2019.) Poem reprinted by permission of the author and the publisher. Introduction copyright ©2022 by The Poetry Foundation. The introduction’s author, Kwame Dawes, is George W. Holmes Professor of English and Glenna Luschei Editor of Prairie Schooner at the University of Nebraska.