curling them around i hold their bodies in obscene embrace thinking of everything but kinship. collards and kale strain against each strange other away from my kissmaking hand and the iron bedpot. the pot is black. the cutting board is black, my hand, and just for a minute the greens roll black under the knife, and the kitchen twists dark on its spine and i taste in my natural appetite the bond of live things everywhere.
Lucille Clifton - 1936-2010
jasper texas 1998
for j. byrd i am a man's head hunched in the road. i was chosen to speak by the members of my body. the arm as it pulled away pointed toward me, the hand opened once and was gone. why and why and why should i call a white man brother? who is the human in this place, the thing that is dragged or the dragger? what does my daughter say? the sun is a blister overhead. if i were alive i could not bear it. the townsfolk sing we shall overcome while hope bleeds slowly from my mouth into the dirt that covers us all. i am done with this dust. i am done.