When I first started this blogging adventure, I hadn’t intended to open up the site to other contributers. I happen, however, to be blessed with a number of friends who continually wow me with their artistic and written work, and so I’ve decided to use the blog to showcase the occasional guest “talent.”

This next piece is from dear friend and fellow Smith student Janan. Janan speaks flawless French, is dedicating her summer to a bread-making apprenticeship, and was responsible this past year for a number of delicious meals that myself and the other fourteen residents of the Maison Française were only too happy to partake in.

Nan, who plans to take part in Smith’s pioneering new poetry concentration, is also a fantastic writer. She was kind enough to share with me the following, as well as a photo from her high school ‘concentration’; a project on body image.

Merci, Janan, for the lovely poem and photo! Also, please bear with me and my awkward spacing; I’m trying my best at this HTML thing, but it doesn’t seem to be working. Arghh!

Photo credit: Janan S.

The body


Her hands pluck and pull

at thick strings,

vibrating against the air in

bandaged fingers.

and her shoulder blades open

under blue three quarter sleeves,

her bones rising up skin,

she flicks music with her wrist.


I’m examining a body in my dream,

a woman’s body, I’m pinching the flesh of her thighs

and my eyes claw her skin for imperfections.

she and I are trying to find what is most beautiful in her.

not her belly, and not her sex, it is long and uninviting.

Her legs are her favorite.


I was sitting ankles crossed when you walked in,

maroon legs for miles, golden dimples on your long back,

those round lips with their shadowy corners.

I do not know you,

but when you sit beside me my heart twists

and thrusts, bucking against my ribs.

I know it is strange to ask you, perfect stranger,

to sit somewhere else,

but when I see you

and all of your loveliness

and those long bony toes

I see my unclean walls, so please,

please let me stare away this body

without seeing you so close behind.