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Friday Feature: Tyra Douyon


Tyra Douyon is an Atlanta-based poet, lifestyle-culture writer, editor, and educator known for her authentic voice and passion for storytelling. She writes poetry highlighting the intersection of Afro-Caribbean and American identity, and mental health. She is currently the Assistant Poetry Editor for Gigantic Sequins and previously served as the Editorial Director of The Headlight Review and Social Media Editor for Josephine Quarterly. She's a Tin House fellow for fiction writing, and her poetry has appeared in Josephine Quarterly, Paper Dragon, Black Fox, Aunt Chloe, Storm Cellar, The Muse, and others. She received her MA in Professional Writing and BS in English Education from Kennesaw State University. You can find her filling her shopping cart with too many flowers, running 5Ks with her dog, Mya, or at work on her first poetry collection about being raised by her grandmother in a bilingual household, but not speaking the same language. Visit Tyra’s website to read more of her creative work.



Visiting Hours 


You always had a big appetite 

for a woman holding 

eight decades in her throat. 


There is no meal 

without rice, 

but where are the greens? 


There is no such thing 

as too much butterscotch 

candy in a mouth 

with already rotten teeth. 


I never knew Haitian spaghetti 

was a recipe; I just thought 

you were being stingy 

with the sauce. 


There was a time 

when you fed yourself. 

There was a time 

when you could see my face 

and not mistake me 

for someone dead. 


We spoke in twitching eyebrows, 

stubborn smirks, 

loose dimples—   


Our day emptied into uhh hums, 

silent call and response, a sermon

recited with missing tongues. 

 

We found each other in howls

of laughter, lawless domino games, 

clapping hands, aching feet— 

  

Immigrant families know 

about the land of lost language. 

How to make do 

with the dream of wanting more. 


I don’t remember 

the last time 

you stood. 

I don’t remember when 

you weren’t starving. 


In ten minutes, 

you ate three bananas. 

I left you the bag, tucked it against 

the white blanket, the white gown. 


She ran it back quick–  

said you didn’t need it, 

said you would choke.




###



Torch Literary Arts is a 501(c)3 nonprofit established to publish and promote creative writing by Black women. We publish contemporary writing by experienced and emerging writers alike. Programs include the Wildfire Reading Series, writing workshops, and retreats.

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