Dear June Jordan,
Thank you so much. Speaking of
jasmine flowers in Lebanon, 1982, pulled the warm dirt
from their bodies buried alive.
New York Times held the whip against your back,
poured lashes on you like black rain,
etching a shadow of scars, perhaps, the sun would dry:
after they refused to print you,
after your agent dropped you from her sky,
forgot your name and things dried up,
to grow again.
How do I attune the
loss of you? I will walk past them, sotto voce, quaking
beneath their balance as
notes expose political dissonance. My horizontal run
fails to keep up with your
crescendo of ideas, approaching the cumulonimbus
where the angels of thunder perfect their vibrato,
welcoming you in.
So much hope created, is your power
in what all started sotto voce.
Her mission reminds me of yours; McKinney's.
You both asked the hard questions.
I don't think that "why?" is such a hard question.
Will you be her angel?
Will you tell her she is not alone?
P. S. I crushed this letter and threw it high.
You may find it in your wings;
the soft plumules of new feathers
that are beating against the downdrafts of oppression.