• called me long distance at midnight
  • woke me and told me
  • her father died in the hospital that evening
  • died while talking with her stepmom
  • in mid-laugh
  • she cried a bit
  • on her way to being bombed/a little booze
  • to lose the blues and memory, shares
  • that birthday party
  • the time i read the poems with the 4 letter words
  • and how her blind raven haired diabetic
  • dad of french and latin descent
  • liked me a lot less
  • tonight it is this recollection
  • transmitting warmth north
  • along the hot thin wires of hurt
  • i hear her smile and the slight slur says
  • she’ll be okay in the good morning

Wanda Coleman

Wanda Coleman

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 and, most recently, the 2012 Shelley Memorial Award. Her new collection of poems, The World Falls Away, was published by the University of Pittsburgh Press. “Pam” is from Coleman’s collection Imagoes, published by Black Sparrow Press. It is reprinted here by permission.

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