In the day’s mirror
you see a tall black man.   
Fingers of gold cattail
tremble, then you witness
the rope dangling from
a limb of white oak.
It’s come to this.
You yell his direction,
the wind taking   
your voice away.
You holler his mama’s name   
& he glances up at the red sky.   
You can almost   
touch what he’s thinking,   
reaching for his hand
across the river.
The noose pendulous
over his head,   
you can feel him   
grow inside you,   
straining to hoist himself,   
climbing a ladder   
of air, your feet   
in his shoes.

Yusef Komunyakaa, “Reflections” from Pleasure Dome: New and Collected Poems. Copyright © 2001 by Yusef Komunyakaa. Reprinted with the permission of Wesleyan University Press.
Source: Pleasure Dome: New and Collected Poems (Wesleyan University Press, 2001)
More Poems by Yusef Komunyakaa