Winter 1992 • Vol. XIV No. 1 PoetryJanuary 1, 1992 |

Gristmill

Black hands shucked & shelled corn into a washtub While a circle of ancient voices Hummed "Lil' Liza Jane." Daddy shouldered a hundred-pound sack To Mister Adam's gristmill. The place was a moment of Inertia. A horde of rough shoes Against a revolving dancefloor. Navel to navel. Slip- Socket to ball- Bearing & cogwheel. Gears dragged & caught, & the machine's calibrated Rhythm kicked in. An orgasm of golden dust Clung to the wooden floor, To the grass & leaves Outside. A field holler Traveled out, coming back With the same sweaty cries Elvis stole from R & B, Like a millstone worn Bright. Smooth, white hands Halved the meal & husk: One for you, two for me.

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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.

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Black hands shucked & shelled corn into a washtub While a circle of ancient voices Hummed "Lil' Liza Jane." Daddy shouldered a hundred-pound sack To Mister Adam's gristmill. The place […]

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Black hands shucked & shelled corn into a washtub While a circle of ancient voices Hummed "Lil' Liza Jane." Daddy shouldered a hundred-pound sack To Mister Adam's gristmill. The place […]

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