2020 Summer Contest Issue 26 poetry
Rose Sun by Rachel Cloud
Rose Sun by Rachel Cloud Adams

I’ve Been Waiting for Hate to Die

(In memory of John Lewis)

the way deciduous trees let go their leaves
when the air becomes chilled, leaving trunk
and bough and branches naked in winter.

I thought somehow hate would have its spring
and summer but give way with time.
Now, I see that hate is an heirloom pressed

in the hand, mother to daughter, father to son
like a cameo or antique watch, cherished
because an elder cherished it once.

I keep waiting for hate to shrink up like a
sidewalk slug salted: a desiccated, ugly blot
but it’s a relentless feeding maw. It grows

and grows, but like a climbing vine, it must
be beaten back each season before it destroys,
brick by brick, the house in which we live.

Ellen June Wright was born in Bedford, England of West Indian parents. She has worked as a consultant on guides for three PBS poetry series. She has been published in Louisiana LiteratureExit 13, Fourth River and Hurricane Review, and is the founder of Poets of Color virtual poetry workshop. 

Rachel Cloud Adams is a poet, collage maker, nonprofit association editor, and the founder/editor of the journal Lines + Stars. Her work has appeared in The North American Review, Memoir, Salamander, and elsewhere. Her most recent poetry collection is Space and Road (Semiperfect Press, 2019).