Thanks, Joel, for calling my attention to Hanif Abdurraqib’s poem “How Can Black People Write About Flowers at a Time Like This.”
Here are few favorite lines:
… you might tell me something
about the dandelion & how it is not a flower itself
but a plant made up of several small flowers at its crown
& lord knows I have been called by what I look like
more than I have been called by what I actually am
The poem, the poet shares, was inspired by an overheard conversation much like the one I wrote about last week between me and my son: how can we (and, in the case of the poem, how can African Americans) give attention to anything, including the beauty of the world, when there is a crisis before us?
You can listen to the whole poem–just a minute long–here.
And you can find more of Abdurraquib’s work, shown below, here.