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Ode to an Ancestor, and: Illusion
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Ode to an Ancestor

To think
you dreamed me
into this day
I wish to suck
through a straw.
May my words
the wrinkled sheet
of your back.
This humming
I’ve known:
it’s the dead
easing me forth,
oars combing

how to thank you—
with the bottom
of my poems?
To imagine all words
as neologisms:
once, their
clumsy flowerings
on the tongue.

Has your heart
ever skipped
a night—the morning
blue and too suddenly
This hum is
the engine
of the world
started without me.


for Roy Veal

baby birds alone
in the high nest
of the cherry

so safe

little girls
in a church

Samantha Thornhill  

Samantha Thornhill is an international poet whose work has been featured in Crab Orchard Review, Indiana Review, and Poets & Writers Magazine, among other publications. She teaches poetry at the Juilliard School and also serves as writer-in-residence at the Bronx Academy of Letters. Her young adult novel, Seventeen Seasons, is forthcoming from Penguin/Putnam.

Copyright © 2011 Samantha thornhill
Project MUSE® - View Citation
Samantha Thornhill. "Ode to an Ancestor, and: Illusion." African American Review 44.4 (2011): 710-710. Project MUSE. Web. 27 Jan. 2013. <http://muse.jhu.edu/>.
Thornhill, S.(2011). Ode to an Ancestor, and: Illusion. African American Review 44(4), 710. The Johns Hopkins University Press. Retrieved January 27, 2013, from Project MUSE database.
Samantha Thornhill. "Ode to an Ancestor, and: Illusion." African American Review 44, no. 4 (2011): 710-710. http://muse.jhu.edu/ (accessed January 27, 2013).
T1 - Ode to an Ancestor, and: Illusion
A1 - Samantha Thornhill
JF - African American Review
VL - 44
IS - 4
SP - 710
EP - 710
PY - 2011
PB - The Johns Hopkins University Press
SN - 1945-6182
UR - http://muse.jhu.edu/journals/african_american_review/v044/44.4.thornhill.html
N1 - Volume 44, Number 4, Winter 2011
ER -


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