Three Poems

Cover for Southern Exposure's Southern Black Utterances Today cover featuring a woodcut print of a Black man's face gazing upward, by Atlanta artist Lucious Hightower

This article originally appeared in Southern Exposure Vol. 3 No. 1, "Southern Black Utterances Today." Find more from that issue here.

when you told me


were going out west

to find


i thought

how far west you would have to go.

if you had


i could have told


where you



like the thoughts that

activate the hand or heart

to some fine beneficial action

i need to be of service.

i need to be of some indispensable usage

like the Nile serves Egypt

like the Mississippi serves New Orleans

i want to be important to your



once i captured someone to love

a wild bird in my hand

it sat still, motionless

save the incoherent heart beating,

it appraised me with wild

uncompromising eyes and

suddenly i became captive.