Beauty’s Nest by Robin Coste Lewis

   JIM CROW WELCOMES YOU HOME
AFTER THE WAR, JUST AFTER MIDNIGHT
GRAND CANYON: 1951

Beauty’s nest
renders the body
mute. An elegance
so inconceivable,
it’s violent. Extreme. It hurts
the heart to see
something so vast and deep
can also be made of dirt.

And if it can be
of the earth, the body
ponders, might
such a landscape
exist also within me?

The four of you stand
silent, uniformed on its rim,
while the imagination tries
to conceive all the things
it is still too dark
to see.

You jump back
into your wide tan Ford
and begin to drive
again — again — past
all the motels, and their signs,
which, were it not just
after midnight, you know —
and could see — say
WHITES ONLY

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Beauty’s Nest by Robin Coste Lewis

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