We real cool. We
Left school. We
Lurk late. We
Strike straight. We
To be in love
Is to touch with a lighter hand.
In yourself you stretch, you are well.
You look at things
I shall not sing a May song.
A May song should be gay.
I'll wait until November
And sing a song of gray.
Abortions will not let you forget.
You remember the children you got that you did not get,
The damp small pulps with a little or with no hair,
The singers and workers that never handled the air.
Already I am no longer looked at with lechery or love.
My daughters and sons have put me away with marbles and dolls,
Are gone from the house.
My husband and lovers are pleasant or somewhat polite
I hold my honey and I store my bread
In little jars and cabinets of my will.
I label clearly, and each latch and lid
I bid, Be firm till I return from hell.
Maud went to college.
Sadie stayed home.
Sadie scraped life
With a fine toothed comb.
Say to them,
say to the down-keepers,
They eat beans mostly, this old yellow pair.
Dinner is a casual affair.
Plain chipware on a plain and creaking wood,
Rudolph Reed was oaken.
His wife was oaken too.
And his two good girls and his good little man
Oakened as they grew.