Published on Academy of American Poets (

Poem from the Russian

In a circle of 12 winter trees
I’m hunched
Remembering being fled from

—Who gave me this wool sweater?
So it please you life, we won’t go alone—
Next year will be better.
Remember that white tree?

The white underpaint of the government.
The country of bone.

In memory of Michael Brown


Copyright © 2014 by Jean Valentine. Used with permission of the author. 

About this Poem

“These are terrible days in this country. I honor Claudia Rankine and Jacqueline Woodson, everyone who writes deeply about these times, and every act of nonviolence.  I wanted here to remember Michael Brown.”
Jean Valentine


Jean Valentine

The author of many collections of poetry, Jean Valentine has received such honors as the National Book Award, the Yale Series of Younger Poets Prize, and the Wallace Stevens Award from the Academy of American Poets.

Date Published: 2014-12-29

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