E. Ethelbert Miller



you lie in bed listening,
waiting, fearing the moment
your father returns home. you
listen to voices talking in the
next room and wonder why you are
still afraid of the dark. his voice
in the other room you would love to
kiss. you cannot see your face in the
dark but the blackness is there, like
his back. if only he would
open the door and look at you. maybe
the light would be in his eyes,
his voice.


death surrounds itself with the living
i watch them take the body from the house
i’ m a young kid maybe five years old
the whole thing makes no sense to me
i hear my father say
lord jesus what she go and do this for
i watch him walk out the backdoor of the house
i watch him walk around the garden
kick the dirt
stare at the flowers
& shake his head shake his head
he shakes his head all night long