poem index

sign up to receive a new poem-a-day in your inbox

About this Poem 

"Someone I loved died, then someone I loved left me, then this happened where I teach (now on a leave of absence). And I guess I have yet to get over Sylvia Plath's, 'I am a nun now. I have never been so pure.'" Jericho Brown

Another Elegy

Jericho Brown

To believe in God is to love
What none can see. Let a lover go,

Let him walk out with the good
Spoons or die

Without a signature, and so much
Remains for scrubbing, for a polish

Cleaner than devotion. Tonight,
God is one spot, and you,

You must be one blind nun. You
Wipe, you rub, but love won’t move.

Copyright © 2013 by Jericho Brown . Used with permission of the author. This poem appeared in Poem-A-Day on April 9, 2013. Browse the Poem-A-Day archive.

Copyright © 2013 by Jericho Brown . Used with permission of the author. This poem appeared in Poem-A-Day on April 9, 2013. Browse the Poem-A-Day archive.

Jericho Brown

Jericho Brown

Raised in Shreveport, Louisiana, Jericho Brown won the 2009 American Book Award for his debut collection Please.

by this poet

poem
“O Blood of the River of songs,
O songs of the River of Blood,”
       Let me lie down. Let my words

Lie sound in the mouths of men
Repeating invocations pure
       And perfect as a moan

That mounts in the mouth of Bessie Smith.
Blues for the angels kicked out
       Of heaven. Blues for the angels

Who miss
poem
I spent what light Saturday sent sweating
And learned to cuss cutting grass for women
Kind enough to say they couldn’t tell the damned
Difference between their mowed lawns
And their vacuumed carpets just before
Handing over a five-dollar bill rolled tighter
Than a joint and asking me in to change
A few light
poem

They sat on the dresser like anything
I put in my pocket before leaving
The house.  I even saw a few tiny ones
Tilted against the window of my living
Room, little metal threats with splinters
For handles.  They leaned like those
Teenage boys at the corner who might
Not be