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Lynne Nicole Claire Procope

Years: 2007


LYNNE PROCOPE is a Cave Canem fellow and a former National Poetry Slam champion. She is co-author of the collaborative collection, Burning Down the House (Soft Skull). Her poems appear in Drum Voices Review 2000, Poetry Slam: The Competitive Art of Performance Poetry (Manic D Press), His Rib: Women’s Anthology (Penmanship), Bowery Women (YDK ) , The Last American Valentine (Write Bloody ), Word Warriors: 35 Women Leaders in the Spoken Word Revolution (Seal Press) and the So Much Things to Say anthology from the Calabash Literary Festival.  Her work appears or is forthcoming in journals including: Affilia Journal of Women & Social Work, Storyscape, decomP, Quarter After Eight, Washington Square Review.  She is curator of the Gaslight Salon Series, managing editor of Union Station Magazine and executive director of the louderARTS Project.



Ghost I lay in wait, a small wolf of grief, watch over her, this broken girl who should have been my mother. In the room next door; women sing out loud, wistful and sweet. Mama’s low moans slip swirl about her body, a shroud of mourning she pulls down each time she wakes without me in her body. Watch her hands now -first the belly, the bed rail, the sweat drenched sheets, she reaches back to press the thin walls, as if to drag her life from ambulance, anesthetic, scalpel. As if to reel in this sharp terror of the brakes screaming, the brutal punch of grill to belly. She claws for me, her nails snap and sliver. These are the smallest of her fractures. Watch how she collapses into sleep. Each small coma a blessing. I become hairless, I lose my father’s chin. I give up


his long absent eyes. I'll be unrecognizable

to her and those men who've practiced

to cradle my round head across their roped arms,


cautious, these grief struck uncles who'd mapped 

the arc of my first long catch, 

first girl, my first stolen bottle of beer.