I drew inspiration, and borrowed theme and structure, from one of my literary heroes. Part One is Langston Hughes’ famous poem, with its enduring image of a raisin in the sun. Part Two is poem for my mother.

Harlem

What happens to a dream deferred?

      Does it dry up
      like a raisin in the sun?
      Or fester like a sore—
      And then run?
      Does it stink like rotten meat?
      Or crust and sugar over—
      like a syrupy sweet?

      Maybe it just sags
      like a heavy load.

Or does it explode?

Diane

What of a dream
that is never dreamed at all?

This undreamed dream—
A son dreamed dream
Does she hunt
by the light of the moon?
Or rust and rot—
on her moorings?

Does it suffocate—
Depressed, compressed
under granite?

Or float softly,
like a sad song in the air?
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