Upon Your Leaving

Etheridge Knight

-for Sonia

and in the wann blackness
your woman smell filled the room
and our rivers Howed together. became one
my love's patterns. our sweat / drenched bellies
made Hat cracks as we kissed
like sea waves lapping against the shore
rocks rising and rolling and sliding back.

your sighs softly calling my name
became love songs child / woman songs
old as a thousand years new as the few
smiles you released like sacred doves. and I
fell asleep, ashamed of my glow of my halo, and
ignoring them who waited below
to take you away when the sun rose ...

and the sunlight playing in the green leaves
above us fell across your face traced the tears
in your eyes and love patterns in the wet grass.
and as they waited inside in triumphant patience
to take you away I begged you to stay.
''but, etheridge," you said, "i don't know what to do."
and the love patterns shifted and shimmered in your eyes.

after they had taken you and gone, the day
turned stark white. bleak. barren like
the nordic landscape. I turned and entered
into the empty house and fell on the Hoor
laughing. trying to fill the spaces your love had left.
knowing that we would not remain apart long.
our rivers had Howed together.
we are one.
and are strong.

The Essential Etheridge Knight

Last updated December 15, 2022