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About this poet

A. B. Spellman is the author of From Things I Must Have Known (Coffee House Press, 2008). 

from Things I Don’t Miss From My Youth

3. Not Knowing Better

florene barco moved
to philadelphia &
on a visit home told
us she went
to school with
white kids

it was a lunar image

everything shouted
inferior
to us
the patterns
we walked. the ease
with which they
commanded. that
we could not live

by the river
word of lynching
farther south & of course
the signs. i
thought it all to be
as much of nature
as the night sky
the birds of the air

the notion of place
meant not where
you stood but how
you talked
to a white man

place was
the wet brown earth
your knees
sank down in

& philadelphia
was the crescent
moon

Copyright © 2008 by A. B. Spellman. Except from "Things I Don't Miss From My Youth" from Things I Must Have Known (Coffee House Press, 2008). Reprinted from Split This Rock’s The Quarry: A Social Justice Poetry Database.

Copyright © 2008 by A. B. Spellman. Except from "Things I Don't Miss From My Youth" from Things I Must Have Known (Coffee House Press, 2008). Reprinted from Split This Rock’s The Quarry: A Social Justice Poetry Database.

A. B. Spellman

A. B. Spellman is the author of From Things I Must Have Known (Coffee House Press, 2008). 

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i will die in havana in a hurricane
it will be morning, i'll be facing southwest
away from the gulf, away from the storm 
away from home, looking to the virid hills 
of matanzas where the orisha rise, lifted 
by congueros in masks of iron, bongoseros 
in masks of water, timbaleros in masks of fire
by all the
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