Spring 1991 • Vol. XIII No. 2 PoetryApril 1, 1991 |

History Lessons

1 Squinting up at leafy sunlight, I stepped back & shaded my eyes, but couldn't see what she pointed to. The courthouse lawn where the lone poplar stood Was almost smooth as a pool table. Twenty-five Years earlier it had been a stage for half the town: Cain & poor white trash. A picnic on saint augustine Grass. A few guitars & voices from hell. No, I couldn't see the piece of blonde rope. I stepped closer to her, to where we were almost In each other's arms, & then saw the flayed Tassel of wind-whipped hemp knotted around a limb Like a hank of hair, a weather-whitened bloom In hungry light. That was where they prodded him Up into the flatbed of a pickup. 2 We had coffee & chicory with lots of milk, Hoecakes, bacon, & gooseberry jam. She told me How a white woman in The Terrace Said that she shot a man who tried to rape her, How their car lights crawled sage fields Midnight to daybreak, how a young black boxer Was running & punching the air at s

Already have an account? Login

Join KR for even more to read.

Register for a free account to read five free pieces a month from our current issue and digital archive.
Register for Free and Read This Piece



Or become a subscriber today and get complete, immediate access to our digital archives at every subscription level.
Yusef Komunyakaa’s seventeen books of poetry include Taboo, Dien Cai Dau, Neon Vernacular (for which he received the Pulitzer Prize), Warhorses, and most recently The Chameleon Couch and Testimony. His many honors include the William Faulkner Prize (Universite Rennes, France), the Ruth Lilly Poetry Prize, the Kingsley Tufts Award for Poetry, and the 2011 Wallace Stevens Award. His plays, performance art, and libretti have been performed internationally and include Saturnalia, Testimony, and Gilgamesh: A Verse Play. He teaches at New York University.

Read More

A Prayer

By Yusef Komunyakaa

1 Squinting up at leafy sunlight, I stepped back & shaded my eyes, but couldn't see what she pointed to. The courthouse lawn where the lone poplar stood Was almost […]

K’rar

By Yusef Komunyakaa

1 Squinting up at leafy sunlight, I stepped back & shaded my eyes, but couldn't see what she pointed to. The courthouse lawn where the lone poplar stood Was almost […]

Subscribe

Your free registration with Kenyon review incudes access to exclusive content, early access to program registration, and more.

Donate

With your support, we’ll continue 
to cultivate talent and publish extraordinary literature from diverse voices around the world.