Maxwell Bodenheim

1892 - 1954 / Mississippi / United States


Like the arms of a child lifting shining white lilies from a little brown pond,
Sunlight drew songs from this lithe, grimacing negress
Whose skin was smoother than the cloudless sky above her.
The flecks of cotton they picked brought a changing white stupor
To the negroes about her, but she swung down her row,
With broad smiles cutting her pent-up satin face.
And though the afternoon slowly pressed down her back,
She never ceased humming to her joyous Christ.
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