Poems / May 2, 2024

Sapphic Fragment

Madeleine Cravens

I didn’t like sex in the beginning.
Somewhere in Greece, the sea eroded rocks.
There was no oracle. Spring lambs roasted

on wooden spits, sending a charred scent
into inland towns, smoke gathering on rooftops.
I had been lied to. Women, too, were violent.

The presidential candidate praised drones.
My sister was in the psychiatric hospital.
My mother kept repainting the kitchen.

Burnt orange, lime green. A dirty sort of gold.
In the nightclub bathroom, I inhaled strange
vapors, then smashed my head into a wall.

Thank you for reading The Nation!

We hope you enjoyed the story you just read, just one of the many incisive, deeply reported articles we publish daily. Now more than ever, we need fearless journalism that moves the needle on important issues, uncovers malfeasance and corruption, and uplifts voices and perspectives that often go unheard in mainstream media.

Donate right now and help us hold the powerful accountable, shine a light on issues that would otherwise be swept under the rug, and build a more just and equitable future.

For nearly 160 years, The Nation has stood for truth, justice, and moral clarity. As a reader-supported publication, we are not beholden to the whims of advertisers or a corporate owner. But it does take financial resources to report on stories that may take weeks or months to investigate, thoroughly edit and fact-check articles, and get our stories to readers like you.

Donate today and stand with us for a better future. Thank you for being a supporter of independent journalism.

Thank you for your generosity.

Madeleine Cravens

Madeleine Cravens is the author of Pleasure Principle, forthcoming from Scribner in June 2024.

More from The Nation

Maria Ressa in Manila, Philippines, 2021.

In Maria Ressa’s Philippines In Maria Ressa’s Philippines

The Nobel Prize–winning journalist's memoir offers a portrait of a country's struggles to battle the forces of populism and social media.

Books & the Arts / Noah Flora

Ella Fitzgerald at the Newport Jazz Festival in Newport, Rhode Island, 1970.

The Genius of Ella Fitzgerald The Genius of Ella Fitzgerald

She remade the American songbook in her image, uprooting the very meaning of musical performance.

Books & the Arts / Sam Fentress

Louis Vuitton’s branding opportunity in Paris.

Luxury Brands Are Buying Our Cities Luxury Brands Are Buying Our Cities

Conglomerates like LVMH are gobbling up whole neighborhoods to advance their own interests.

Column / Kate Wagner

Edward Hopper's “October in Cape Cod,” 1946.

A Coming of Age Novel That Puzzles Through Gender A Coming of Age Novel That Puzzles Through Gender

In Griffin Hansbury’s Some Strange Music Draws Me In, a man’s recollections of his transition opens up into a nuanced examination of gender identity’s many contradictions.

Books & the Arts / Grace Byron

Aran Islands woman

The Imperial Gaze Turns on Britain’s Isles The Imperial Gaze Turns on Britain’s Isles

In Elizabeth O’Connor’s Whale Fall, an encounter between English documentarians and a remote Welsh island community provokes questions of sexual and national identity.

Books & the Arts / Emmet Fraizer