Featured Poetry

Kai-Lilly Karpman – On Want

Poet Kai-Lilly Karpman unleashes another salvo against a violent patriarchy in her revelatory and melancholy “On Want”. Like her poem “Prometheus as Girl”, published in 2022 by The Dewdrop, Kai-Lilly again addresses the dangerous and misleading gifts offered to women by the patriarchy and the patriarchal godhead of traditional Christianity, and her poem simmers with the desire for growth and change in an unequal society. Kai-Lilly told The Dewdrop that her poem deals with depression due to patriarchal violence. “In ‘On Want,’ the speaker negotiates with God, hoping for a better deal,” she explained.

On Want

Yes, at my most suicidal I heard God
talk, his assertions mumbled
from deep in his irrelevant places.
I asked him to untouch me, to remove

the boys’ hands when I woke
to find them scattered over my body.
God offered me cocaine,
and, later, bright yellow flowers.

There are ways to endure this
is what he meant. He meant you will make
something of You as I have. Then, He gave
me poems and he gave me a mean streak.

I renegotiated with God. I asked only
for some relief. For just one second.
He told me to go to the sea and look out.
He demanded that I sit on wooden benches and wait.

There, I yearned for something I didn’t know,
I witnessed something I still can’t describe. But,
He finally spoke up, clear in his advice:
The punishment for Wanting was itself.

Kai-Lilly Karpman

Kai-Lilly Karpman is a poet, educator, and translator from Los Angeles, California. She has been previously published in Dewdrop, Plume, Beyond Words, and elsewhere. She is the recipient of the Columbia University 2022 teaching fellowship, the Columbia University Word for Word travel and research grant, the two-time winner of the John Curtis Memorial Prize in Poetry, and the recipient of the Barbara Sicherman Prize in English scholarship. Kai-Lilly values the marriage between the intuitive, unnameable power of literature and the formal techniques that support its emergence.

Leave a Reply