3 Poems by Diamond Forde

Jelly Donut, or a Fat Ode for Unruliness

Fryer-fresh, the yeast dough proofs
balloons in cinnamon heat, batter
buttered, harpooned with jam, a red
wound blistering my thumb—

I want to be this messy. To break the
lines ruling my body, to loosen fat
black in opulent pools. I sex and axe
my gilded nails through a lumbering

throat and I crop top, too. Coquette
my blubber, my bust, my profile
is a perfect parabola, my thighs
bread-blow the hemline of my shorts

and I love them, deep brown, oiled
with sun, sweat-sweetened, wet
hips swollen like berries, when I jezebel
in the marmalade light of a streetlamp

drilling through my window, I strip
skin, boo hag on the dreamy breath
of a dark room, and when I say I love
the moon I mean I’ve dreamt

of tongue-punching its gloomy craters,
rock-marked curves globuled with spit,
and this is the love I give, violently
oozing—and everywhere.


Moon Pie, or a Fat Ode to Pussy and Marshmallows

Forgive me this habit of feeding
    food into sex—but I hunger proudly
on my backside alone, shame sugaring
    my eating habits since grade school,
soft girl, hips buttering, eating like I was owed
    something sticky, so my pussy must be

moon pie, nickname my love below
    like celestial honey pot, candy
mountain. Every language has a sweet for my sweetie—
    meat muffin, smelly jelly, yeast cake,
yum-yum. Switzerland and its sweet bun, Spain and its figs.
    Japan, whose euphemistic manju

plumes in the mouth feather-wide. Did you know
    there are Marshmallow Girls
wheeling on the cover of Tokyo Times? eye-popping
    in pastel prints, do they know
all the euphemisms for fat girls: big girl, curvy girl, fluffy, too?
    Or my personal favorite:

thicker than a Snicker, which reminds me, maybe
    my taffy puller proffers different flavors—
chocolate, yes, but also strawberry, banana, maybe spiced
    rum for Christmas, salted caramel
sprinkled on a beachside, salt gemmed straight from the sea.
    I know that much salt intake ain’t great

for my sugar basin, but I can hardly think of moon pies
    without sacrifice, without pigs
rowed by the butcher knife, snouts buoyant as marshmallows,
    bones masticated to a gelatin bloom.
I know what it’s like to be quartered. I know a gaze can blade
    the way I’ve cubed golden mangos

in my kitchen. One sickled stare, I sever into nectars,
    my stomach smacks a melon flush.
But I want most to be marshmallow, because, as a teenager
    on my first camping trip in a friend’s backyard,
we piled by her fire pit to roast s’mores,
    but I was new to fire,

every sizzle-pop bungled the bravery in me. I jolted,
    dropped my sweet treat
in the lapping flames. My friends laughed beside me.
    I watched the fire feed,
a new hunger, the kind I would only see in mirrors,
    wishing a single thought

could send everything in smoke. But I would guard
    my marshmallow, consider it vigil
for the shame of losing—and being seen—marshmallow
    darkening in the shadow of their smiles,
who doesn’t know how to roast a marshmallow? my cheeks
    funnel failure into a kind of heat

we crisp under dumb gazes, both of us at the cusp of being
    completely consumed by carbon,
and when the wood in the fire pit cracks an autumn scent
    to sweater slow death around us,
my marshmallow refuses to martyr, unbuckles the oppressive
    heat from the fire’s flame, bursts.


I Can’t Write About the Ocean Without It Being About Slavery

but what if I want to fuck the ocean? how do we scholar
transatlantic trade in my desire to dip my oyster-moist
on the saline face of Earth? I’m saying I want to straddle
the sea with both hips slapping like rafts, unshackle
only from kelp’s clasp wrapping my legs, hell, to dive
without needing to net bones from the sea floor
and sure, maybe this is a queer poem, maybe the ocean is
Mami Wata and I want to tongue her trenches or hold
her swells in my palm’s small shell, maybe I want to stew
in the primordial brew from which life oozes, but do not
read me from the sea slick with afterbirth, this isn’t baptism
or beast, not communion nor kink, and do not think of ships
on the horizon, ghosts in their sails. Instead, schools
of fish silvering a coastal gale, or sea grass licking worship
from my feet or the California sheephead, a carnivorous
species of fish who isn’t afraid to flip a black
urchin on its back and see, we both know what I did
there, made metaphor dangerous and dangerously
misfit, and this the thicket of trying to umbramble me
into an already signified sea—see, this poem is about my wish
to pound waves in my bluebeard’s closet, it’s ass
and ashy knees, my black body literal, and anywhere.

About Diamond Forde

Diamond Forde’s debut collection, Mother Body, is the winner of the 2019 Saturnalia Poetry Prize and is forthcoming in 2021. Diamond has received numerous awards and prizes, including the Pink Poetry Prize, the Furious Flower Poetry Prize, and CLA’s Margaret Walker Memorial Prize, and Frontier Poetry’s New Poets Award. She is a Callaloo and Tin House fellow, whose work has appeared in Massachusetts Review, Ninth Letter, NELLE, Tupelo Quarterly and more. Diamond serves as the assistant editor of Southeast Review. She is a PhD candidate at Florida State University and holds an MFA from The University of Alabama. She enjoys fish, grits, and R&B.