So I said OK and went away and did it...
FOR JOANNA RUSS
Standing at her high desk, writing, in pain,
she seems a preacher, tall, thin and austere.
Her angry work makes many things so clear
that she should not have needed to explain.
She made fools suffer. Smiling, in her head,
behind the smile, she'd put them in their graves,
and dance there. There's a silence known to slaves
whose words are never heard, whom men think bred
for silence. Yet speak loud in sighs and looks
and unread writing. She helped make us free
to speak aloud and dance. She lived to see
women whose lives grew through and past her books
choose quite precisely whom they'd love, or fuck,
and float downstream on rafts with Jim and Huck.