Used. Sold.

For­ Mitchell,
Thank you for rescuing this book—
Martín Espada
April 27,
Author signature in City of Coughing and Dead Radiators,
removed from circulation, Rochester Hills Public Library,
Rochester, Michigan

There is no easy way to explain this,
but there was a time when you
were unwanted & you wound up
w/little space for extra, someone
thought about what they could do
w/out, plot & POV, & you
wound up here.
after a question of worth, how much
for this or that, tercet & foot, & you
were thought to be something
of value, but not
enough to keep.

There’s really no nice way
to say This
is not your home, but you are
here, & what’s that like,
standing in place
night after night,
your spine exposed?



Mitchell L. H. Douglas is Associate Professor of English at Indiana University-Purdue University, Indianapolis. His debut collection, Cooling Board: A Long-Playing Poem (Red Hen Press, 2009) was nominated for a 2010 NAACP Image Award in the Outstanding Literary Work-Poetry category and a 2010 Hurston/Wright Legacy Award. His second poetry collection \blak\ \al-fə bet\, winner of the 2011 Lexi Rudnitsky/Editor’s Choice Award, was published in February 2013 by Persea Books. His poems have appeared in Callaloo, Crab Orchard Review, Ninth Letter and the anthologies The Ringing Ear: Black Poets Lean South and Resisting Arrest: Poems to Stretch the Sky among others. He is a Cave Canem graduate and cofounder of the Affrilachian Poets. His third collection of poems, dying in the scarecrow’s arms, is forthcoming from Persea Books in spring 2018.


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