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Gargoyled angels ride the backs of black men who hurl their bodies on exploding grenades,

who vaporize into unquestioned mist & syllables of names, who rise like curses & prayers entwined in broken earth

& fall into smoky-red cerecloth. An answer coils around wounded branches. After fragments of bone

settle on leaves, & birds reclaim their songs, the world moves again. Someone speaks & the army ants go to work.

Yusef Komunyakaa

Yusef Komunyakaa is author of six collections of poems, including Dien Cai Dau, Magic City, and Neon Vernacular, which received the 1994 Pulitzer Prize in Poetry and the Kingsley Tufts Award. He teaches at Indiana University, Bloomington.


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