Portrait of Audre Lorde by Robert Alexander, 1983. Jackie Kay writes,
Audre Lorde dropped the y from Audrey when she was still a child so she could be Audre Lorde. She liked the symmetry of the es at the end. She was born in New York City in 1934 to immigrants from Grenada. She didn’t talk till she was four and was so short-sighted she was legally blind. She wrote her first poem in eighth grade. The Black Unicorn, her most unified collection of poems, partly describes a tricky relationship with her mother. “My mother had two faces and a frying pot / where she cooked up her daughters / into girls … My mother had two faces / and a broken pot /where she hid out a perfect daughter /who was not me”…
After her mastectomy, she chose not to have prosthesis, opting for asymmetry instead, and wore one dangling earring and one stud for unequal measure. From the little girl who loved those matching es, she’d come not exactly full circle but a revolution and a half.