Angel

By Angela Jackson b. 1951 Angela Jackson

for Jerry Ward

I am the only one here.
 
I stand in my one place
and I can see a good piece
down the road. I am yonder,
further than the chunk of your stone.
Right now, directly,
I am persimmon falling free
and the prisoner opening up
in me.
Don’t come through my door and
want to run my house. I am
the angel who sweep air in and out my own
dancing body. I got good eyes. I can see.
A good piece down the road. Clear to
God murmuring in me. My head is the burning
bush. What I hold in my hand is the promised
land. I set my people free in me.
And we walk without wandering like people named
after mere plants,
because we are tree
and high-stepping roots
cake-walking
in this promised place.
 
Where I go is where I am now.
Don’t mess with me: you hurt yourself.
In the middle of my stride now. I am walking
yes indeed I am walking through my own house.
I am walking yes indeed on my own piece of road.
Toting my own load
and yours and mine.
I tell you
I feel fine and clear this morning even
when it’s night and a full moon with my thumbprint
on it.
Everything is clamorous and quiet.
            I am the only One here.
            And we don’t break. No indeed.
            Come hell and high water.
            We don’t break
            for nothing.

Angela Jackson, "Angel" from And All These Roads Be Luminous. Copyright © 1998 by Angela Jackson.  Reprinted by permission of TriQuarterly Books.

Source: And All These Roads Be Luminous (TriQuarterly Books, 1998)

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Poet Angela Jackson b. 1951

POET’S REGION U.S., Midwestern

Subjects Social Commentaries, History & Politics, Race & Ethnicity, Religion, Christianity

 Angela  Jackson

Biography

Born in Greenville, Mississippi, poet Angela Jackson is the fifth of nine children. She spent her early life in Greenville before moving with her family to Chicago’s Southside. Jackson earned a BA at Northwestern University, where she received the Academy of American Poets Prize, and an MA in Latin American and Caribbean studies at the University of Chicago. In Chicago, she became a prominent member of the Organization of Black . . .

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Poem Categorization

SUBJECT Social Commentaries, History & Politics, Race & Ethnicity, Religion, Christianity

POET’S REGION U.S., Midwestern

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Originally appeared in Poetry magazine.

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