poetry quarterly

10th anniversary


E. Ethelbert Miller



dark night
the light of New York
slipping out of my hand
like my father's last breath
before his heart failed

I watch a young man
throwing books into the water
his fair skin younger than
the moon

we are on a boat
going to Africa

there is a halo of blues
around his shoulders

I turn and walk down
the steps to the small
cabin room

I leave the young man
with his sadness
stories and poems

I leave him with
the music of the sea


E. Ethelbert Miller is the board chair of the Institute for Policy Studies and the director of the African American Resource Center at Howard University. He is editor of Poet Lore.


Published in Volume 12, Number 1, Winter 2011.


To read more by this author:
E. Ethelbert Miller
Miller on Sterling Brown: Memorial Issue
E. Ethelbert Miller: Wartime Issue
E. Ethelbert Miller: DC Places Issue
Miller on Ed Cox: Profiles Issue
E. Ethelbert Miller: Evolving City Issue
E. Ethelbert Miller: Split This Rock Issue