9 Ounces: A Poem from Saraphina

Photography by Natasha Marin

Photography by Natasha Marin

the ruby red slippers i cannot find
have snuck up beside an extra leg
beneath a pile of dusty affirmations 
& those words still sweet in the middle 

like hard caramel 

all this talk about leap 
faith & let it be 
hang loose 
& you wonder 
how an angel
responds to dirty 
panties. if she shields 
herself with her wings.

a is not the beginning
but the end 
like circa like era 
it does not stay fixed 
malleable like lava
when you put it on paper
make the circle & a hook
keep it hanging & open 
drape your future like 
it's sheer like it's shear 
salutations sorrow
wring your wrist 
atop my lips 
when your blood 
becomes my
i promise to 
let. you. go. 
everybody knows
you are not meant 
to be held. behold 
everything but you
sacred. sacrilegious 
& saraphina all covered in
semen. see men 
running to you 
with closed firsts.
first a dress of white 
next a baby. carriage.
care is just another word
like well. wailing veins
shut up. up until 
there is no more. more.
everybody knows 
you are not meant 
to be held. 

you remember 

you were an elaborate canopy once 
your cover & breeze 
a synonym for safe 
you remember the way
the legs seem to brace 
backbend & blaze
you remember that you
remember & you know
you've scene yourself in
this play. the way that 
burnt toast & runny yolk
seem to canopy in the 
middle of an easy sunday
morning. you sublet your 
memory only for a moment 
& round about vacant 

& empty

The Project Room is following author and performer Anastacia Tolbert in the making of her upcoming One-Woman show, 9 OuncesRead more about 9 Ounces here and stay tuned to get tickets to her performance which debuts at TPR in July 2015.


Anastacia Tolbert is a Cave Canem Fellow, Hedgebrook Alumna, Jack Straw Writer, EDGE Professional Writer, VONA alum, creative writing workshop facilitator, documentarian and playwright. She is writer, co-director, and co-producer of GOTBREAST? Documentary (2007): a documentary about the views of women regarding breast and body image. Lately she’s been obsessed with the body & the stories it holds. Her poetry, fiction & nonfiction have been published widely.