Toi Derricotte

(April 12, 1941 / Hamtramck, Michigan)

Market Poem by Toi Derricotte


Those huge platters on their heads on which everything
is placed accurately, each small red pepper,
prawn, each orange―each arranged in piles so tall they defy gravity―
avocados, crabs, dried fish of silverish brown,
or one great yam, thirty pounds, dirt brushed,
counterbalanced in a kind of aquarium.
A woman approves me with a fluent grin
and offers her light basket for my head;
I walk a yard, tottering awkwardly.
The unremarkable commonness—
a beauty shaped by women's hands.

—from Tender 1997

Submitted: Monday, December 19, 2011
Edited: Monday, December 19, 2011

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