American Sonnet (95)

seized by wicked enchantment, i surrendered my song

as i fled for the stars, i saw an earthchild
in a distant hallway, crying out
to his mother, “please don’t go away
and leave us.” he was, i saw, my son. immediately,
i discontinued my flight

from here, i see the clocktower in a sweep of light,
framed by wild ivy. it pierces all nights to come

I haunt these chambers but they belong to cruel churchified insects.
among the books mine go unread, dust-covered.
i write about urban bleeders and breeders, but am
troubled because their tragedies echo mine.

at this moment I am sickened by the urge
to smash. my thighs present themselves

stillborn, misshapen wings within me

From Mercurochrome: New Poems (Black Sparrow Press, 2001). Copyright © 2001 by Wanda Coleman. Reprinted with the permission of Black Sparrow Press.