The Apologetics for Little Girls

tifi like me be bees
it has been said that we sting
without cause.
we have been accused of hardness.
and to my knowledge, the latter is true.
we rinse out our anger.
we iron pain.
we are micromanagers of our brief
and dangerous times
on this moon side of the earth.
we are short lived.
we make honey of it.
we grow soon.
we soon come,
reflecting with the moonlight,
breaking over
obstinate waters.
we have been readied
for the historians
who will come for us.
we will be be nightwomen
if they should choose to come in the night.
we sharpen our tongues
with sharp bones
if they should come for our voices.
if they should starve us
we shall eat starvation
making sacred bread of it:
the instructions for
the next tifi.
in the future,
they shall have to bend steel
to chain us.
they will have to historicize us by names we did not author.
when they do,
our only recourse will be our gaze.
we have anticipated this:
that their pasts be heavy
with our peering
that their lies be inundated
with our laughter
a buzzing
ringing just over the shoulder
ruin rendered
we chuckle.
we refract when we should reflect.
wild are we,
we brief, briefly,
briefest yet
little girls

Note: Little girls in Haitian Creole is tifi


The Apologetics for Idleness

after Adrienne Rich

a girl is dressing herself
as best she can
she is pulling up holey leggings
swinging jazz from her earlobes
snapping together her trustworthy bra
sweating through its underarms
somewhere a girl is undressing herself
with the quickness
trying hard to pull down her best jeans
shedding her old worlds
like skins
somewhere a girl is sitting too close to fire
watching it dance on a wall
burning holes into her stockings
somewhere a girl is washing herself
feeling new
like night uncovering itself
and directing the tide
she is lying idle in day’s old underwear
free floating in the atlas of the difficult world.
her humble brown body,
the hills of herself
are rolling
into her tomorrow


Naomie Jean-Pierre is an MA literature candidate at City College of New York. She hails from Haiti by way of Atlanta. By day, she tutors high schoolers at Countee Cullen library of Central Harlem. By night, she versifies the raw material of daily life.