where are the love poems for dictators
i sit on a stool in a small room
no windows
i can touch walls without moving my arms
the smell of myself eats the last slice of air
in this prison
the food is terrible
it is a tasteless horror
in the next cell antonio weeps
his body already crushed by a thousand burns
at night i whisper poetry through the cracks
in the wall
my words like women kiss his eyes

E. Ethelbert Miller was the director of the Afro-American Resource Center at Howard University in Washington, D.C. when this poem appeared. Copyright 1983 E. Ethelbert Miller. This poem appeared in Whose Woods These Are, ed. Karren LaLonde Alenier, The Word Works, Washington, D.C., 1983.

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