kitchenette building (1945)
We are things of dry hours and the involuntary plan,
Grayed in, and gray. “Dream” makes a giddy sound, not strong
Like “rent,” “feeding a wife,” “satisfying a man.”
But could a dream send up through onion fumes
Its white and violet, fight with fried potatoes
and yesterday’s garbage ripening in the hall,
Flutter, or sing an aria down these rooms
Even if we were willing to let it in,
Had time to warm it, keep it very clean,
Anticipate a massage, let it begin?
We wonder. But not well! not for a minute!
Since Number Five is out of the bathroom now,
We think of lukewarm water, hope to get in it.
She’s the first poet I ever heard of. She was the Poet Laureate before there was a Poet Laureate of the United States. She was awarded the first Pulitzer Prize ever bestowed upon an African American woman. She kept her volumes of poetry small and affordable so that they were accessible to ordinary people.