They did not understand a child’s need for secrets, the child’s desire to tell her own story and make herself new.

-Tiphanie Yanique, “The Living Sea”

The end’s always there at the beginning / Dad said, quoting a prophet who knew then / what we’d come to.

Roxanne Beth Johnson, “A Father Rises”

we went to his house. / his white wife wanted us to go in the back
door, / but he insisted we come into the front.

-Adrienne Kennedy, “Forget”

She can cradle the owner’s spell book / ’tween her dark hands.
She has learned to sing in robbers’ tongue.

-Cornelius Eady, “To Phillis Wheatley’s Mother

Tempers flared, voices were raised, names were called and, inevitably, accusations of racism were leveled, which brought the argument to an abrupt end.

-Jerald Walker, “The Designated Driver

for these do I come forth in torrents, do I come forth in tenderness & earth, do I come forth in rage for these, for these.

Kiki Petrosino, “Afro”

I knew her as Devil, a nickname that began as expletive and /

finally ended in laughter and love.

-Artress Bethany White, “Geneva Could Have Walked to Switzerland”

A poet stands on the steps of the grand cathedral / wondering if he has been a coward in hard times.

-Yusef Komunyakaa, “A Visit to Inner Sanctum”

I see it as if it has to be, / though I can’t be sure /

I’ve seen it—but it’s startling

-Sean Hill, “Still Life with Starlings and Man”