Summer 2005


Summer 2005


A languid woman shines winter smooth, lying smeared
with sleep, crushed under lakes of shadow, mists of light.
He haunts the naked dawn, a hunter in a blind, bent
under a cold, blue eternity. He never wanted to be
a good little boy. Not John. Not for a minute. Still,
sometimes, in a lather of regret, he wishes he were again
the grocer’s son, the boy behind the counter taking coins,
rapt in dreams of pink, panting goddesses, drooling sordid
honey of desire. A bag of soft coal deflected his life’s
journey. His father raged, rebuked. He took to taking things:
money, cars. A prisoner, he learned the tricks of robbing
banks, lived wild and easy, spilled life fluids. He worshiped
beauty, kissed bare breasts, tongued most flowers of rapture,
and when, one day, he took a bullet in the neck in an alley
by the Biograph, women soaked handkerchiefs in his blood
and lined up for hours to gawk at his stiffened corpse.

Peter Benson teaches African literature, American literature, and writing full time at a university in Teaneck, New Jersey. He lived and taught previously in Sierra Leone, Kenya, and Senegal, and was recipient of a Rockefeller Foundation Visiting Research Fellowship and two Fulbright Fellowships. His book on African writers and intellectuals in the 1960s was published by the University of California Press



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