88: Ars Poetica #28: African Leave-Taking Disorder

March 27, 2019 · 5:00
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Ars Poetica #28: African Leave-Taking Disorder
by Elizabeth Alexander

The talk is good. The two friends linger
at the door. Urban crickets sing with them.

There is no after the supper and talk.
The talk is good. These two friends linger

at the door, half in, half out, ’til one
decides to walk the other home. And so

they walk, more talk, the new doorstep, the
nightgowned wife who shakes her head and smiles

from the bedroom window as the men talk
in love and the crickets sing along.

The joke would be if the one now home
walked the other one home, where they started,

to keep talking, and so on: “African
Leave-Taking Disorder,” which names her children

everywhere trying to come back together and talk.

“Ars Poetica #28: African Leave-Taking Disorder,” from AMERICAN SUBLIME by Elizabeth Alexander. Copyright © 2005 by Elizabeth Alexander. Used by permission of Graywolf Press.