Crash

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, www.graywolfpress.org.
Source: Antebellum Dream Book (Graywolf Press, 2001)
More Poems by Elizabeth Alexander