By Elizabeth Alexander b. 1962 Elizabeth Alexander
I am the last woman off of the plane
that has crashed in a cornfield near Philly,

picking through hot metal
for my rucksack and diaper bag.

No black box, no fuselage,
just sistergirl pilot wiping soot from her eyes,

happy to be alive. Her dreadlocks
will hold the smoke for weeks.

All the white passengers bailed out
before impact, so certain a sister

couldn’t navigate the crash. O gender.
O race. O ye of little faith.

Here we are in the cornfield, bruised and dirty but alive.
I invite sistergirl pilot home for dinner

at my parents’, for my mother’s roast chicken
with gravy and rice, to celebrate.

“Crash” Copyright © 2001 by Elizabeth Alexander. Reprinted from Antebellum Dream Book, with the permission of Graywolf Press, St. Paul, Minnesota,

Source: Antebellum Dream Book (Graywolf Press, 2001)

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Poet Elizabeth Alexander b. 1962

Subjects Heroes & Patriotism, Social Commentaries, Activities, Travels & Journeys

 Elizabeth  Alexander


Elizabeth Alexander was born in Harlem, New York, but grew up in Washington, DC, the daughter of former United States Secretary of the Army and Equal Employment Opportunity Commission chairman, Clifford Alexander Jr. She holds degrees from Yale, Boston University and the University of Pennsylvania, where she earned her PhD. Currently the chair of African American Studies at Yale, Alexander is a highly respected teacher and . . .

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SUBJECT Heroes & Patriotism, Social Commentaries, Activities, Travels & Journeys

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Originally appeared in Poetry magazine.

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