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ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Toi Derricotte
Toi Derricotte
The author of several books of poetry, Toi Derricotte is cofounder of Cave Canem, a national poetry organization committed to cultivating the artistic and professional growth of African American poets...
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FURTHER READING
Other Elegies
Allegorical Baraka
by Anne Waldman
Another Elegy
by Jericho Brown
By ways remote and distant waters sped (101)
by Gaius Valerius Catullus
Driven across many nations (101)
by Gaius Valerius Catullus
Dusk
by Margo Berdeshevsky
Elegy in X Parts [Kafka said, A book]
by Matt Rasmussen
Elegy Written in a Country Churchyard
by Thomas Gray
Etta's Elegy
by Maureen Seaton
For the Union Dead
by Robert Lowell
Friend,
by Jean Valentine
Fugue of Death
by Paul Celan
In Memory of W. B. Yeats
by W. H. Auden
Lycidas
by John Milton
Making Apple Sauce with my Dead Grandmother
by Bianca Stone
O Captain! My Captain!
by Walt Whitman
Suddenly
by Sharon Olds
Tigers
by Melissa Ginsburg
To An Athlete Dying Young
by A. E. Housman
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Elegy for my husband

 
by Toi Derricotte

Bruce Derricotte, June 22, 1928 - June 21, 2011


What was there is no longer there:
Not the blood running its wires of flame through the whole length
Not the memories, the texts written in the language of the flat hills
No, not the memories, the porch swing and the father crying
The genteel and elegant aunt bleeding out on the highway
(Too black for the white ambulance to pick up)
Who had sent back lacquered plates from China
Who had given away her best ivory comb that one time she was angry
Not the muscles, the ones the white girls longed to touch
But must not (for your mother warned
You would be lynched in that all-white Ohio town you grew up in)
Not that same town where you were the only, the one good black boy
All that is gone
Not the muscles running, the baseball flying into your mitt
Not the hand that laid itself over my heart and saved me 
Not the eyes that held the long gold tunnel I believed in 
Not the restrained hand in love and in anger
Not the holding back
Not the taut holding









Copyright 2012 by Toi Derricotte. Used with permission of the author.
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