My poems come from my father’s
heavy lifting. The sweat of my words
his sweat. My poems seldom sleep.
They are too tired for wordplay or rhyme.
Night streets found my father a long way
from home.
He walked like a jazz musician
dipping his shoulder into darkness. His
muscle music a deep moan. My father
was a tired saint. A good man and provider.
I am a poet. All I do with my hands is
write. It is my father’s pain that gave
birth to this gift.

— E. Ethelbert Miller