June Jordan

(9 July 1936 - 14 June 2002 / United States)

April 9, 1999 (For Ethelbert) - Poem by June Jordan

In Brooklyn when the flowering
forsythia escaped the concrete patterns
of tight winter days
I didn’t think about long
or F-117s in contrast
to a lover or an army
on the ground
up close
and personal as washing out a shirt
by hand
the soapsuds and the fingers and the cloth
an ordinary ritual
to interdict the devils of 2,000 lb. bombs
dropped from more than 25,000 feet above
the children
scrambling from the schoolyard
suddenly aflame

until you called from Washington
to say
'Oh, let me be
that shirt!'

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Poem Submitted: Thursday, April 22, 2010

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