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By June Jordan

I never thought I’d keep a record of my pain

or happiness

like candles lighting the entire soft lace

of the air

around the full length of your hair/a shower

organized by God

in brown and auburn

undulations luminous like particles

of flame


But now I do

retrieve an afternoon of apricots

and water interspersed with cigarettes

and sand and rocks

we walked across:

                        How easily you held

my hand

beside the low tide

of the world


Now I do

relive an evening of retreat

a bridge I left behind

where all the solid heat

of lust and tender trembling

lay as cruel and as kind

as passion spins its infinite

tergiversations in between the bitter

and the sweet


Alone and longing for you

now I do

June Jordan, “Poem for Haruko” from Directed by Desire. Copyright © 2005 by June Jordan. Reprinted by permission of Copper Canyon Press

Source: Directed by Desire (Copper Canyon Press, 2005)

  • Living
  • Love
  • Relationships

Poet Bio

June Jordan
Born to Jamaican immigrants in Harlem, New York, June Jordan later attended Barnard College and the University of Chicago. Her experiences as the only black student at a prep school and her taboo marriage to a white man fueled the sense of discrimination in her activist writing—throughout her work, she was tireless in her commitment to civil rights and political liberty. Jordan also had a distinguished academic career, teaching at Sarah Lawrence College, Yale University, and the University of California at Berkeley. In her poem “In Memoriam: Martin Luther King, Jr.” she describes problems in American culture using a rhythmically aggressive yet free-flowing verse form. See More By This Poet

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