My Father's Love Letters (audio only)
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From Magic City by Yusef Komunyakaa, published by Wesleyan University Press. © 1988 by Yusef Komunyakaa. Used with permission. All rights reserved.
Black Virgin Mountain.
Yeah, gore, & all
the damn vagaries
of war locked inside a song.
Yeah, sometimes one thing
leads to another
rainbow, a choker of hippie beads,
Last night, I visited a captivity story.
I was sitting in a lean-to made of bark
with Ella Ruth, both of us teenagers—
her ebony skin, her black hair touching
her tailbone. I looked at her hard, &
she came back to sit beside the fire.
Caught here in your limestone cave,
lost in a limbo of slow water torture,
for you, each day is always night.
Condemned to circle contours of a god’s
state of mind, all pale swimmers
in this light are a deck of cards
shuffled by a pro. I back away
& you come forth like falling