Poem: “The Things in Black Men’s Closet” by E. (Eugene) Ethelbert Miller

0 Posted by - January 21, 2021 - Black History, BLACK MEN, LATEST POSTS, Poems

E. (Eugene) Ethelbert Miller was born in the Bronx, New York, in 1950. He attended Howard University and received a BA in African American studies in 1972. A self-described “literary activist,” Miller is on the board of the Institute for Policy Studies, a progressive multi-issue think tank, and has served as director of the African American Studies Resource Center at Howard University since 1974.

Miller’s collections of poetry include Andromeda (1974), The Land of Smiles and the Land of No Smiles (1974), Season of Hunger / Cry of Rain (1982), Where Are the Love Poems for Dictators? (1986), Whispers, Secrets and Promises (1998), and How We Sleep on the Nights We Don’t Make Love (2004).

Miller has held positions as scholar-in-residence at George Mason University and as the Jessie Ball DuPont Scholar at Emory & Henry College. He has conducted writing workshops for soldiers and the families of soldiers through Operation Homecoming.

The Things in Black Men’s Closets

By E. Ethelbert Miller
on the top shelf
of the closet
is the hat my father
wears on special occasions
it rests next to the large jar
he saves pennies in
his head is always bare
when i see him walking
in the street
i once sat in his bedroom
watching him search
between sweaters and suits
looking for something missing
a tie perhaps
then he stopped
and slowly walked to the closet
took the hat from the shelf
i sat on the bed
studying his back
waiting for him to turn
and tell me who died


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