Published on Academy of American Poets (

What Do We Do—Now

—after Gwendolyn Brooks

We mourn, we bless,
we blow, we wail, we
wind—down, we sip,
we spin, we blind, we
bend, bow & hem. We
hip, we blend, we bind,
we shake, we shine,
shine. We lips & we
teeth, we praise & protest.
We document & we
drama. We demand &
we flow, fold & hang
loose. We measure &
we moan, mourn & whine
low. & we live, and we
breathe. & some of the time,
we don’t.

Tonight, I am here. Here
& tired. Here & awake,
sure, & alive. Yes here &
still, still here, still & here
& still awake & still still


Copyright © 2016 by Ellen Hagan. Reprinted from Split This Rock’s The Quarry: A Social Justice Poetry Database.


Ellen Hagan

Ellen Hagan is the author of Hemisphere (TriQuarterly Books, 2015). The recipient of a NYSCA/NYFA Artist Fellowship, she is the director of the poetry program at the DreamYard Project in New York City. 

Date Published: 2017-08-01

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