Indran Amirthanayagam

Juneteenth (remembering Venus): Indran Amirthanayagam


remembering Venus

She left us on Juneteenth. And she wore

a smile listening to Nina Simone before

closing her eyes, to be ready for the next

journey. She left us on Juneteenth, the day

the news of the emancipation arrived

in Texas. It took a while. We are on earth

a while, an instant, to receive the proclamation,

to know that freedom will come, that freedom

is here now liberated from body, become

spirit, our poems left behind as touchstones

to rub, to rub, to remember and to dance

in the white smoke flying. We have a new

guide. We will go on. And we will not

forget. Every Juneteenth. Every day

that Venus left us. Every day we write.

Indran Amirthanayagam, Juneteenth, 2021

Indran Amirthanayagam writes poetry in English, Spanish, French, Portuguese, and Haitian Creole. He is the author of twenty three books of poetry and poetry in translation, including Origami: Selected Poems of Manuel Ulacia, Blue Window (Dialogos Books) The Migrant States (Hanging Loose Press 2020),Coconuts on Mars (Paperwall, 2019), Uncivil War (Mawenzi House (formerly TSAR), Canada, 2013), and the Paterson Prize-winning The Elephants of Reckoning (Hanging Loose, 1993). Amirthanayagam is a 2020 Foundation for Contemporary Arts fellow in poetry, and a past fellow of the New York Foundation for the Arts, the US/Mexico Fund for Culture, and the MacDowell Colony. He edits The Beltway Poetry Quarterly; curates the reading series Poetry at Beltway Editions, and publishes poetry books with Sara Cahill Marron at Beltway Editions. He serves on the Board of DC-ALT. His blog is