Why would I abandon the hunger-suffering 

Vulture, spread-winged in the middle of the road

Eating a rabbit while it snows? Wouldn’t you

Want to touch, watch his comrades close down the sky

And, in a black circle, eat red on the white Earth?

And when the hiss of something slithers in—

Panic un-paused—wouldn’t you watch the circle 

Break into black leaves pulled from the earth and flung

Into the falling sky? Wouldn’t you want to be

A servant of this paradise, not a God

In front of a screen, naked, lonely, asking—

No more a God than the crown of vultures

Frightened by a hiss that was a tire deflating?

Why would you trade Paradise for an argument

                                                            About Paradise?

Copyright © 2023 by Roger Reeves. Originally published in Poem-a-Day on April 19, 2023, by the Academy of American Poets.


Outside, the thunder
Shakes the prison walls; inside
My heart shakes my ears.



(For Sonia)

Snow from the mountains
Of my heart instantly melts
In your warm Blackness.



Black men with Torches
Follow the bloody tracks of
The albino beast.



Gray jets drag white tails
Across blue skies; gray rats drag
Tails across black legs.

From The Lost Etheridge Knight: The Uncollected Poems of Etheridge Knight. Copyright © 2022 by Etheridge Knight. Published by Kinchafoonee Creek Press. Reprinted by permission of the publisher.