The Safia Jama Experience in The Offing



The Offing’s Aricka Foreman spotlighted my poetry in “I Slay: 11 Women Artists To Get Us Into Formation.”  Foreman writes: “To be a rebel woman, in the simplest of terms, means to speak for herself, of and for her life, honestly.”  For the record, I love this definition. I wrote and posted my poem, When They Ask About Your Summer, here on this very blog two summers ago.  I recall feeling a need to share my poetry without having to submit my work to an institution. I like how Foreman splices artists of various disciplines, together,  forming a virtual collective of rebel women. Foreman eschews the usual hierarchies: No one is listed under a number, and multiple genres are represented.  Several of my heroes, like Zadie Smith, Edwidge Danticat, and Maxine Hong Kingston, are featured alongside writers I look forward to getting to know, like Gala Mukomolova and Meredith Talusan. Much gratitude to the Offing for recognizing the work of women writers and artists making their own respective paths in the world.

Poem written on the E train




Two souls

sit across from me

and make light chatter

turning the pages of a Bible

as if I were a hearth

in their living room.

They collected cans

in the light rain:

her good windbreaker, his wide-brimmed hat.

Enter a girl in white sneakers.

She sits near me

and strokes a pink wire that blots

out the world.

I take out my pen

to record this moment,

maybe ruin it a little.


For a few stops we are carefree

as car keys in a country drive.