Wanda Coleman
  • Wanda Coleman
  • Image by Susan Carpendale
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  • she was the great baby sitter — tall dignified
  • rich warm brown
  • we’d scream her name pretend to be endangered
  • run and hide in mama’s clothes closet
  • she’d search house and yard
  • get angry and upset when she couldn’t find us
  • we’d pop out laughing while
  • she scolded us for wolfing
  • delicately she reported on our bursts into puberty
  • and experiments in sex
  • on visits to her home she made us family
  • after play with her nieces and nephews fed us
  • the best tuna sandwiches on the planet
  • love and love always for the only person
  • to ever comb my thick black kinks
  • without taking my hair out
  • in handfuls
  • i loved her coffee stained teeth flashing gold
  • her thick british honduras croon
  • how she always called her lover “Mr.”
  • so pretty inside
  • there was a joy about her i had to be a woman
  • to understand


Wanda Coleman is a well-known American poet who has published 18 books of poetry and fiction, including Bathwater Wine, for which she won the 1999 Lenore Marshall Poetry Prize (the first African-American woman to receive that award). Her collection Mercurochrome was a finalist for the National Book Award in 2001. A seminal figure of literary L.A., her honors include Guggenheim Foundation and NEA fellowships. Her new collection of poems, The World Falls Away, has just been published by the University of Pittsburgh Press. “Miss Jones” is from Coleman’s collection Heavy Daughter Blues, published by Black Sparrow Press. It is reprinted here by permission. The author’s photograph is by Susan Carpendale.

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nan shartel Oct. 12, 2011 @ 1 p.m.

so good the print can't even hold it!

thx thx thx Reader for bringing this inimitable poet to us!!!

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