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  • Poem for M.


    if i

    black woman


    (how could i)

    love you


    white man


    (how could i)

    let me

    do so

    outdoors under the stars of seven generations

    wringing my hands like Magdalene

    at the foot of the tree
    at the sight and sway of swinging
    black feet.

    The Language of Leaving



    In my telenovela kitchen Spanish

    I had no word to say divorce






    No word in the language to describe

    you leaving

    me making you leave


    (no lo suporto

    no puedo mas).


    No word in the language that defined

    our parameters

    man, woman,

    circumscribed us as distinctly as islands.



    About The Author

    Joann Quiñones

    Joann Quiñones is an Associate Professor of English at Earlham College. She received her BA from Rutgers University and MA and Ph.D. from the University of Iowa. She specializes in African American, Caribbean and American Ethnic Literatures. A native New Yorker, she has lived in Richmond, IN for ten years and is a fiber artist and quilter. She shares her home with two teenage sons, two dogs and two cats. She is currently researching sugar cane workers from Yabucoa, Puerto Rico, her family’s traditional home and hopes the project will inspire a series of art quilts, poems and a novel about the connections between African Americans and Afro-Caribbean peoples.