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Poem of the Week


Black String of Days,
By Yusef Komunyakaa

Tonight I feel the stars are out
to use me for target practice.
I don’t know why
they zero in like old
business, each a moment of blood
unraveling forgotten names.
This world of dog-eat-dog
& anything goes.
On the black string of days
there’s an unlucky number
undeniably ours.
As the Milky Way
spreads out its map
of wounds, I feel
like a snail on a salt lick.
What can I say? Morning’s crow
poses on a few sticks, a cross
dressed in Daddy’s work shirt—
how its yellow eyes shine.
It knows I believe
in small things.
I dig my fingers into wet dirt
where each parachute seed pod
matters.  Some insect
a fleck of fool’s gold.
I touch it,
a man asking for help
as only he knows how.

(Poem from his 1994 Pulitzer prize winning book of poetry, Neon Vernacular.)

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