Portrait in Georgia

- 1894-1967
Hairbraided chestnut,
     coiled like a lyncher's rope,
Eyesfagots,
Lipsold scars, or the first red blisters,
Breaththe last sweet scent of cane,
And her slim body, white as the ash
     of black flesh after flame.

More by Jean Toomer

Prayer

My body is opaque to the soul.
Driven of the spirit, long have I sought to temper it unto the
        spirit’s longing, 
But my mind, too, is opaque to the soul. 
A closed lid is my soul’s flesh-eye. 
O Spirits of whom my soul is but a little finger,
Direct it to the lid of its flesh-eye.
I am weak with much giving. 
I am weak with the desire to give more. 
(How strong a thing is the little finger!)
So weak that I have confused the body with the soul, 
And the body with the little finger. 
(How frail is the little finger.)
My voice could not carry to you did you dwell in stars, 
O Spirits of whom my soul is but a little finger . . . 
 

Her Lips Are Copper Wire

whisper of yellow globes
gleaming on lamp-posts that sway
like bootleg licker drinkers in the fog
 
and let your breath be moist against me
like bright beads on yellow globes
 
telephone the power-house
that the main wires are insulate
 
(her words play softly up and down
dewy corridors of billboards)
 
then with your tongue remove the tape
and press your lips to mine
till they are incandescent

Beehive

Within this black hive to-night
There swarm a million bees; 
Bees passing in and out the moon, 
Bees escaping out the moon, 
Bees returning through the moon, 
Silver bees intently buzzing, 
Silver honey dripping from the swarm of bees
Earth is a waxen cell of the world comb, 
And I, a drone, 
Lying on my back, 
Lipping honey, 
Getting drunk with silver honey, 
Wish that I might fly out past the moon
And curl forever in some far-off farmyard flower.