after W. E. B. Du Bois
Peering past the promise I
half-roused the soil—
the tinkle rattle
of life swelled
until Atlanta and the Alleghenies
awakened, aroused and listening
to sea, city, weeds and bread,
bitterness, sweat. Live
haunted, see vision, feel conquered
yet, Black—Dared. Us
People of the Turned Future,
of Purple Kingdom, of Gateway, of Web
so crowned with cunning, and stretched, and
christened Wild, startled
again. Named not Temple, but Gospel.
Fear one-half question racing America, dire
land, gold whim, stooping fault,
find. I was no idle wilderness—
after the re-birth and between heavy
wings all red
kindliness, carelessness, lead.
Copyright © 2023 by Aaron Coleman. Originally published in Poem-a-Day on March 6, 2023, by the Academy of American Poets.