(to Langston Hughes)


We’re standing on the corner of

Lenox Avenue and 142nd Street,

and you’re wearing my favorite

tweed, two button suit. Your

sepia toned fedora sits atop your

head, slightly askew, casting a

shadow over your right eye.

I reach out playfully to raise

the brim, but you grab my wrist,

taking in the dappled scent of

bergamot and rose.


At dinner, you loosen the knot

of your paisley tie and lean in

close, over the polished mahogany.

I place a box in front of you. It’s

a russet toned handkerchief –

an early birthday gift that matches

your suit perfectly. Did you think

I wouldn’t get it right? I’ve spent

seventy-two years looking for this

exact color.