I washed apples in your red porcelain sink
We laughed about Prof. you know who
Cursed me out for daring to think.
You took me to ground zero
Your office looked over the Hudson
That ancient water from Lake Tear
of the Clouds--but why did you remain?

Why didn't you flee from lingering poison
Dust floating on air?
I miss you at the weirdest times and recall
Funny things about our visits.

How strange your passing within days of
Our graduate advisor, but she was 98.
Do you see her where you are?
Say hi for me.

That spring I took the train to you
In New York for the last time.
Another June of 2003--that June
Visit caught us in Boston memories.
The other June is the one I will remember.
Not the one where your eyes are yellow
Not when you say they can't get the pain meds right

Not the one where I witness your will and testament.

Witness: Poems

Nagueyalti Warren's picture

Nagueyalti Warren, PhD., is Professor of Pedagogy Emerita in African American Studies at Emory University. She is author of four collections of poetry: Lodestar and Other Night Lights (1992); Margaret: circa 1834-1858 (2008), which won the Naomi Long Madgett Poetry Award; and Braided Memory (2011), winner of the Violet Reed Haas Poetry Award, Lodestar New and Selected Poems (2020), and Witness (2022). She edited Temba Tupu! (Walking Naked) The Africana Woman’s Poetic Self-Portrait (2008), and Critical Insights: Alice Walker (2013). Her poems have appeared in Essence Magazine, Cave Canem Anthology, The Ringing Ear, Obsession, 44 on 44 and elsewhere. A Cave Canem graduate fellow, Warren also is author of W.E.B. Du Bois: Grandfather of Black Studies (2012), and Alice Walker’s Metaphysics: Literature of Spirit (2019). Her current research project is a literary history of Black women writers.

Last updated September 04, 2022