“Zora,” is a poem based on the life of author Zora Neale Hurston. The author was prominent during the Harlem Renaissance and wrote the renowned novel The Eyes Were Watching God. However, as Hurston aged, she found it increasingly difficult to get her material published. Eventually, the author was forced to become a maid in order to sustain an income. The poem was written surrounding the culture of Zora’s reign in a melodic manner. This poem is an ode to her plight and a cry for Hurston to come back and rest at her beloved town of Eatonville.


Zora,

Take me down to Eatonville
Take me right down to Eatonville where the vineyards
ripe with currants dressed in plum, cherry, and of course a blushy peach
all swing with me
brush their bruised skin—
drop against the sediment that covers their sweet

Take me down to Eatonville
Take me right down to Eatonville where the laughter crackles, shrieks
roars rude as belches, fine as gratitude
thick as contrite
where notes grab me by the waist side
squeeze my handles and brush my skin against
grins set with peppered sweat

Take me down to Eatonville
Take me right down to Eatonville where the eyes are set apart
but roam like unbridled streams, coil like kitchen hair
all over because of Song of Solomon 1:5
not because of the fruit

Take me down to Eatonville
Take me right down to Eatonville where
glazed hardwood floors are for lindy hop scuffs—
not blackened knees

Take me down to Eatonville
Take me right down to Eatonville
Where I’ll be—
But you won’t, Zora

Because you’re too busy sharpening your oyster knife


no dress rehearsals for chemo: but He gives auditions

Each strand gilded with a quiet yellow and coiled with time
weaved with pastel cotton lint and green tea
shall slip at the dandelion’s ballet recital

the falls will not be linear

they will float, collide, and tumble against beet faces, fleshy flanks and bare buttocks

but surely you will think
my sister I shall force you to think that the falling of the seed promotes a new venture
indeed the wily weed will uproot all grains and fruits
it will kill and harness the present vanity draped over blush mirrors

but soon mi hermana
African Violets will dance on the deserted stage


To Pecola Breedlove, with the best intentions

I strolled to the corner mart:
unpaved roads, ex inmates
a moat of burgundy glass
the stench of urine, brut
a pewter iron gate,
2 corollas, 1 festiva, 3 cadillacs, 4 huffy bikes
butts, empty skoal tins
whistles, stares, scowls
behind the church, beside the liquor store, a block from Garvey Elementary

I strolled to the corner mart:
2 pieces of fried trout, fries, cornbread
1 hamburger, no onion, extra pickle
3 piece chicken, fries, sliced white bread
1 pack Newport Menthols
1 liter orange soda
1 gallon water

I strolled to the corner mart:

2 pigtails, unkempt hair
ashy, scarred skin
yellow crust round eyes, nostrils
navy blue shorts
soiled, foam-green tank

out she stretched
tugged at my wrist
tiny, bony fingers
bitten, chewed nails
sunken, oak eyes
cuts on her face

she whispered can i have a bracelet can i have one
7 plastic bangles red glitter $6.50

I gave her one, then ordered my food