Friday, March 16, 2007

Possum Crossing by Nikki Giovanni


Possum Crossing

Backing out the driveway
the car lights cast an eerie glow
in the morning fog centering
on movement in the rain slick street

Hitting brakes I anticipate a squirrel or a cat or sometimes
a little raccoon
I once braked for a blind little mole who try though he did
could not escape the cat toying with his life
Mother-to-be possum occasionally lopes home . . . being
naturally . . . slow her condition makes her even more ginger

We need a sign POSSUM CROSSING to warn coffee-gurgling neighbors:
we share the streets with more than trucks and vans and
railroad crossings

All birds being the living kin of dinosaurs
think themselves invincible and pay no heed
to the rolling wheels while they dine
on an unlucky rabbit

I hit brakes for the flutter of the lights hoping it's not a deer
or a skunk or a groundhog
coffee splashes over the cup which I quickly put away from me
and into the empty passenger seat
I look . . .
relieved and exasperated ...
to discover I have just missed a big wet leaf
struggling . . . to lift itself into the wind
and live



Yolanda Cornelia "Nikki" Giovanni was born in Knoxville, Tennessee, and raised in Ohio. She is the author of numerous books of poetry, and several magazines have named her Woman of the Year, including Essence, Mademoiselle, and Ladies Home Journal. She is currently Professor of English and Gloria D. Smith Professor of Black Studies at Virginia Tech.

10 Comments:

Blogger Laura said...

Nikki Giovanni is great. Many times, my students will gravitate to truly crappy poetry (He told me he loved me a great deal/and now I know his love is real) try as I might to provide them with poetry that is good and accesible. I have a book of poems by Nikki Giovanni, and when students have some activity in which they have to choose poems, they gravitate to that book. They love the Nikki Giovanni book. It's so hot someone tried to steal it . . .

9:48 AM  
Anonymous Steve Onkey said...

ALI G -Booyakasha, chek i’ out. I is here wif my main man, Nikki G, my bro from Staines. How is you become poet?
NIKKI G- We’re communicators, it’s in our blood.
ALI G: Blood, West Side. Now sis, you, I mean, sorry you is my bro now, you is get some edumacation. You went to America, right?
NIKKI G: I went to Fisk.
ALI G: Tell me about how you is expelled for crack…
NIKKI G: It wasn’t for smoking crack. I started at Fisk in 1960, was soon expelled, and later returned and graduated in 1968. I did enroll and quickly drop out of two graduate schools after that but I did complete that one degree, my bachelor's degree.
ALI G: Wha’eve. You is still my main man. Now you has Tupac Shukar tattoo, right? Can I see that?
NIKKI G: Yes, I have said I would rather be with the street thugs than with the ones who complain about them.
ALI G: Now is you believe Tupac's criminal record make him a better rap artist?
NIKKI G: Well, I don't know about that, but...
ALI G: I like that poem you wrote about nigger can you kill, can you stab a jew, and you draw blood, can you kill a honkie. Ain't that a rap!
NIKKI G: You're talking about my poem "The True Import Of Present Dialogue, Black vs. Negro." I wrote that a long time ago.
ALI G: But can't you make a rap out of that? You is get the whole crowd to stand up at Virginia Tech with that one.
NIKKI G: No, that was my new poem We Are Virginia Tech.
ALI G: Wha'eve. That was my one an' only main man, Nikki G, my big bro and big time poet, big shout out for Nikki G from VT.

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