O poorest country, this is not your name.
You should be called beacon. You should

be called flame. Almond and bougainvillea,
garden and green mountain, villa and hut,

girl with red ribbons in her hair,
books under arm, charmed by the light

of morning, charcoal seller in black skirt,
encircled by dead trees. You, country,

are merchant woman and eager clerk,
grandfather at the gate, at the crossroads

with the flashlight, with all in sight.

Copyright © 2010 by Danielle Legros Georges. Originally featured on Public Broadcasting Service’s Bill Moyers Journal. Used with permission of the author.

Danielle Legros Georges is the author of two books of poetry, Maroon and The Dear Remote Nearness of You; the chapbook Letters from Congo; and the editor of City of Notions: An Anthology of Contemporary Boston Poems. Her essays, translations, reviews, and poems have appeared in literary journals, books and publications including Agni, The American Poetry Review, The Boston Globe, Black Renaissance Noire, Build therefore your own world, The Caribbean Writer, Callaloo, Consequence, The Dictionary of Caribbean and Afro-Latin Biography, Haiti Noir: The Classics, Into English: An Anthology of Multiple Translations, World Literature Today, and Others Will Enter the Gates: Immigrant Poets on Poetry, Influences and Writing in America. Her academic and literary awards include the Sheila Motton Book Prize from the New England Poetry Club, The PEN New England Discovery Award, faculty scholarship grants from Lesley University, and artist’s fellowships from the Boston Foundation, the Black Metropolis Research Consortium, and the Massachusetts Cultural Council. Legros Georges is Boston’s Poet Laureate, a role in which she serves as an advocate for poetry, language, and the arts. She teaches at Lesley University.