The Feminine Experience by Nazifa Islam

a found poem: The Unabridged Journals of Sylvia Plath


I long for February—the damn giant
shutting me up

inside myself—to end.
Even if I am somehow drawn to him

I really don’t want him;
he is a difficult and black curiosity

and the shock
of his unromantic rain

is too keen
as it forcibly kisses my young skin.

Now is the time to tilt the whit
of equilibrium

moving pulling walking
inside my head.

I long to become better—to have
no peculiar mental flaw.

How terrible—living
only in this warm necessary body.

I am carrying light in my arms
but I am also feeling


Nazifa Islam is the author of the poetry collections Searching for a Pulse (Whitepoint Press, 2013) and Forlorn Light: Virginia Woolf Found Poems (Shearsman Books, 2021). Her poems have appeared in Boston Review, Gulf Coast, DIAGRAM, The Journal, The Believer, and Beloit Poetry Journal among other publications. She earned her MFA at Oregon State University. You can find her @nafoopal.