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By Audre Lorde

I have studied the tight curls on the back of your neck   

moving away from me

beyond anger or failure

your face in the evening schools of longing

through mornings of wish and ripen

we were always saying goodbye

in the blood in the bone over coffee

before dashing for elevators going

in opposite directions

without goodbyes.

Do not remember me as a bridge nor a roof   

as the maker of legends

nor as a trap

door to that world

where black and white clericals

hang on the edge of beauty in five oclock elevators   

twitching their shoulders to avoid other flesh   

and now

there is someone to speak for them   

moving away from me into tomorrows   

morning of wish and ripen

your goodbye is a promise of lightning   

in the last angels hand

unwelcome and warning

the sands have run out against us   

we were rewarded by journeys

away from each other

into desire

into mornings alone

where excuse and endurance mingle   

conceiving decision.

Do not remember me

as disaster

nor as the keeper of secrets

I am a fellow rider in the cattle cars


you move slowly out of my bed   

saying we cannot waste time

only ourselves.

Audre Lorde, “Movement Song” from From a Land Where Other People Live. Copyright © 1973 by Audre Lorde. Reprinted with the permission of the Charlotte Sheedy Literary Agency

Source: The Collected Poems of Audre Lorde (W. W. Norton and Company Inc., 1997)

  • Living
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Poet Bio

Audre Lorde
The impassioned poetry of Audre Lorde grew out of her keen sense of injustice—racial as well as gender—and a strong desire to break through silence and politeness to unafraid illumination. Born in New York City to West Indian parents, she turned in her later work to African sources, emphasizing its oral roots and finding a model in the matriarchies of that continent for her emergent lesbian and communal consciousness. See More By This Poet

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