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
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.
I shall not sing a May song.
A May song should be gay.
I'll wait until November
And sing a song of gray.
Maud went to college.
Sadie stayed home.
Sadie scraped life
With a fine toothed comb.
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
Say to them,
say to the down-keepers,
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.
Oh mother, mother, where is happiness?
They took my lover's tallness off to war,
Left me lamenting. Now I cannot guess
What I can use an empty heart-cup for.