African Violet: Poem for a Black Woman by James C. Kilgore

By James C. Kilgore

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Example text

Wave to me, Gladys. . I feel a lonesome time ticking toward my midnight life; I hear a sad song playing in my autumn veins. . Page 46 Your Silence Is Not Clear A single gnarled sentence stretches across the summer bridge we built. I do not understand its predicate; Its subject is not clear. They do not matter though (I have no structural interest). I wish to know the meaning of the silence I hear. The summer's context is gone; The blank white page of winter is here, And as I scan the length of that summer span, I wish to know the meaning of the silence I hear.

Page 41 She Told Me She told me that She used to cook, Discipline the children, Conduct prayer meetings, Clean the house, And make love in the bedroom. S. Steel, Shovels coal, deep under dark Kentucky, Squeezes the triggers of M-16's, Asks social questions of computers, Points blue-black pens at the Chairman of the Board to make her stock market points, And makes business in the bedroom. Page 42 I Shall Remember You When summer disappears And autumn stalks the road to Chagrin falls like a San Francisco whore welcoming troop ships to the shore, I shall remember you who will not wait for gray days to walk the land you love.

Page 73 In Barbara's Garden I went to get a painting at Barbara's house; I didn't know she had transformed her home Into a tropical garden, a painting far lovelier Than the Autumn scene I had come to claim. Seated in her living room were at least A dozen African Violets wearing the Sunday dignity Of sisters home from an hour of prayer. To steal a phrase from Reverend Gerard Manley Hopkins, The room was charged with the granduer of God: No man could ever hope to capture the loveliness Racing from that canvas; no poet could ever hope to paint Its kaleidoscopic amazing grace And to make the memory gold, one blossom said She liked my painting.

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