Elizabeth Alexander

(May 30, 1962 / Westfield, New Jersey)

Autumn Passage


On suffering, which is real.
On the mouth that never closes,
the air that dries the mouth.
On the miraculous dying body,
its greens and purples.
On the beauty of hair itself.
On the dazzling toddler:
"Like eggplant," he says,
when you say "Vegetable,"
"Chrysanthemum&quo t; to "Flower."
On his grandmother's suffering, larger
than vanished skyscrapers,
September zucchini,
other things too big. For her glory
that goes along with it,
glory of grown children's vigil,
communal fealty, glory
of the body that operates
even as it falls apart, the body
that can no longer even make fever
but nonetheless burns
florid and bright and magnificent
as it dims, as it shrinks,
as it turns to something else.

Submitted: Wednesday, February 26, 2014
Edited: Wednesday, February 26, 2014

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