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For Toni Morrison

on Toni Morrison's birthday [February 18th] at the NYS Writers Institute's

Tribute to Toni Morrison & Exhibit Unveiling

How peculiar it is to breed love

reproduce something lost in another time

yet the first I ever read The Bluest Eye

I thought, here is a book

holding the little girl of me in its pages

though I had wished for hazel eyes or

grey or the kind that change

with a season. I was searching for

myself somewhere. I found myself

rooting for Pecola to breed love

to make something

out of broken pieces

and when Sula Peace came round

I knew for sure, naming

a character must be like taking up

space like dancing open wide

like making the sun meet the ocean

just to name it something

how Sula means peace

You had me saying peace peace

like a mantra every time her name

rolled out my mouth.

You must have known

there's power in speaking a little

more peace into existence

when it runs low

and ain't a deeper love than to

Be loved in a narrative without

language, how magical it is

to read words that hug insides

that have been unraveled

bearing the language we've

been waiting for, how this

type of beauty works

harder to be seen but has

always been beautiful

playing in the dark,

wrapped in your pen

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