Harryette Mullen is the author of Sleeping with the Dictionary , a finalist for the 2002 National Book Award, as well as numerous outher books of poetry, including S*PeRM**K*T, Muse & Drudge, and Blues Baby. She is also the author of the critical study Freeing the Soul : Race, Subjectivity and Difference in Slave Narratives. Mullen is an associate professor of English at UCLA, where she teaches poetry and African-American literature.
Can’t wait to be sprung from shadow
to be known from a hole in the ground.
Scarely silent though often unheard.
Winding, wound. Wounded wind.
She turned, and turns. She opens.
Keep the keys, that devil told her.
Guess the question. Dream the answer.
Tore down almost level.
A silence hardly likely.
Juicy voices. Pour them on.
Music sways her, she concedes,
as darker she goes deeper.
From Sleeping with the Dictionary by Harryette Mullen, copyright © 2004, The Regents of the University of California.