Poem via Poetry Foundation from:

Antebellum Dream Book
Graywolf Press
72 pages
Paperback ISBN: 1-55597-354-X

Elizabeth Alexander, President
The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation, New York, New York

Sometimes I think about Great-Uncle Paul who left Tuskegee,
Alabama to become a forester in Oregon and in so doing
became fundamentally white for the rest of his life, except
when he traveled without his white wife to visit his siblings—
now in New York, now in Harlem, USA—just as pale-skinned,
as straight-haired, as blue-eyed as Paul, and black. Paul never told anyone
he was white, he just didn’t say that he was black, and who could imagine,
an Oregon forester in 1930 as anything other than white?…

Read the entire poem here.

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