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”