- A Waste of Yellow
The global sun.
A thick summer, low luminance, same complexion as honey.
Long light, the reach of history, its simmering skin of variants,
lightly darkened or darkly lightened.
Emancipation takes practice.
Such a naturalist you mistranslate heat into hate every sunset.
If nature wants to lighten brown, let nature lighten brown.
My name is not on any of the cotton I own.
The earth used to be caramel. [End Page 1053]
Thomas Sayers Ellis, a native of Washington, DC, is an assistant professor of Creative Writing at Sarah Lawrence College. This co-founder of the discontinued Dark Room Collective also teaches at The Lesley University low-residency MFA program in Cambridge, MA. He is author of The Maverick Room, winner of the 2006 John C. Zacharis First Book Award, Song On, The Genuine Negro Hero, a chapbook, and The Good Junk (Take Three #1). The University of Michigan Press will soon publish his Breakfast and Blackfist: Notes for Black Poets. He has also published poems and interviews in Agni, Callaloo, The Kenyon Review, The Nation, Ploughshares, American Poetry Review, and other periodicals. He lives in New York City.