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First Morning Poem

By Allison Adelle Hedge Coke

   for Nancy Morejon

        DC, Split This Rock Poetry Festival 2008,  Adams House Suite

In a room facing chimneys
over the place Nancy Morejón rests
between sleeps lining free lines
she whispers to hearing DC:
Obsidiana, Vilma en Junio,
Un Gato Pequeño A Mi Puerta.

Morning is birdsong
in an old Spanish town.

Though the chief
in his acquired misery
echoes Kenya until he breathes
life into malady, or at least compels
us so to believe, she sleeps with
Africa, Canton, and other points slavery
turn Cuban in her bone breath
bringing love, embrace, freedom from
whatever holds the rest of us in weight.

The lifting is simple, yet
without it how sad we all be.

Yet here she is!

Sugaring our boughs before we break.

Added: Wednesday, January 14, 2015  /  Used with permission.
Allison Adelle Hedge Coke
Photo by Adrianne Mathiowetz

Allison Adelle Hedge Coke is a 2021 Legacy Artist Fellow through the California Arts Council and a George Garrett Award recipient. She is a King*Chavez*Parks Award and an American Book Award-winning poet whose books include The Year of the Rat, Dog Road Woman, Off-Season City Pipe, Blood Run, Burn, Streaming, Look at This Blue: an assemblage poem (book length, 2022), as well as a memoir, Rock Ghost, Willow, Deer (2014, paperback). She is the editor of ten anthologies and directs Writers Week and Along the Chaparral where she teaches creative writing and narrative medicine at the University of California, Riverside (UCR). Hedge Coke came of age working fields, factories, and waters and is currently at work on a film, Red Dust: resiliency in the dirty thirties, and on a FLAD fellowship with DISQUIET. She has been granted a Dean Mellon's Professorship for 2022-2023 at UCR.

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