Nicole Sealey


Nicole Sealey was born in St. Thomas, US Virgin Islands, and raised in Apopka, Florida. She earned an MLA in Africana studies from the University of South Florida and an MFA in creative writing from New York University. Sealey is the author of the collections Ordinary Beast (2017), a finalist for the PEN Open Book and Hurston/Wright Legacy Awards, and The Animal After Whom Other Animals Are Named (2016), winner of the Drinking Gourd Chapbook Poetry Prize. Her other honors and awards include a 2019 Rome Prize, an Elizabeth George Foundation Grant, a Stanley Kunitz Memorial Prize, a Daniel Varoujan Award, and a Poetry International Prize. She has been a fellow at Cave Canem, the Poetry Project, the Bread Loaf Writers’ Conference, CantoMundo, and the MacDowell Colony. She is currently the executive director at Cave Canem, the 2018-2019 Doris Lippman Visiting Poet at The City College of New York, a visiting professor at Boston University, and a 2019-2020 Hodder Fellow at Princeton University. Source

Object Permanence

(for John)


We wake as if surprised the other is still there,

each petting the sheet to be sure.


How have we managed our way

to this bed—beholden to heat like dawn


indebted to light. Though we’re not so self-

important as to think everything


has led to this, everything has led to this.

There’s a name for the animal


love makes of us—named, I think,

like rain, for the sound it makes.


You are the animal after whom other animals

are named. Until there’s none left to laugh,


days will start with the same startle

and end with caterpillars gorged on milkweed.


O, how we entertain the angels

with our brief animation. O,


how I’ll miss you when we’re dead.





Literary Movements:


Anthology Years:



Love & Relationships

Literary Devices:


an exclamatory passage in a speech or poem addressed to a person (typically one who is dead or absent) or thing (typically one that is personified)


a short quotation or saying at the beginning of a book or chapter, intended to suggest its theme


exaggerated statements or claims not meant to be taken literally

Interrupted Clause

a word group (a statement, question, or exclamation) that interrupts the flow of a sentence and is usually set off by commas, dashes, or parentheses


a lyric poem in the form of an address to a particular subject, often elevated in style or manner and written in varied or irregular meter