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Ellen June Wright

                    (for Angela, enslaved, Jamestown, Virginia 1619)

reflection of your dark face
in a barrel’s water after heavy rain

you're fascinated by your own
carved features

your high cheekbones
the hair you struggle with

each morning
having no palm oil

your cowrie eyes so different
from when they were home

morning’s sunlight cuts
across the surface

divides your reflection in half
from light to dark

you stare at your face
as if looking at the moon

yet so close you reach
for her and hold her

but she washes away
in your arms

like a shade
from the Field of Asphodel



Ellen June Wright who currently lives in Hackensack, New Jersey was born in England of West Indian parents and immigrated to the United States as a child. She taught high-school language arts in New Jersey for three decades before retiring. She has consulted on guides for three PBS poetry series. Her work was selected as The Missouri Review’s Poem of the Week in June 2021. She was a finalist in the Gulf Stream 2020 summer poetry contest and is a founding member of Poets of Color virtual poetry workshop and recently received 2021 and 2022 Pushcart Prize Nominations for poetry.

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