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Hush Harbor

Charleston, South Carolina


“What does it mean to see a black church burn?”

bear’s breech, bluestar

and, furthermore, I buried my sister

hushed, white roses

&, furthermore, I buried my lover

and, anyway, he never said, “forgive”

June-yanked yarrow

barrenwort creeps

Mary, don’t you weep, oh, Mary


and, furthermore, we buried our mother

bugbane, bee balm

“What does it mean to see a black church burn?”

up Calhoun Street,

up Ravenel Bridge

And who among us speaks for us all, not

me, too simple,

too soon to say

just what I feel when black churches


burn, the door closing, burn, & furthermore,

black-eyed Susan

And, furthermore, we buried our father

June-snatched yarrow

hens & chickens, rosettas between rock

the hell that crept through our door of ages


Sage, Lavender

Cotton, Coreopsis corners


And, furthermore, I buried my grandson

Bearded Iris

What does it mean when our black blood turns? Lamb’s

Ear, Texas Sage

False Red Yucca, swat moths away, sinners

and sin. Must we always invite them in?

False Indigo

Gayfeather, Thrift

Must we always invite them in?


And, furthermore, I buried my anguish


Gold in my palms after rain, & further-

more, Violet

What does it mean when we memorize Psalms

Or “stand in the way that sinners take,” or

Umbrella Sedge

Joe-Pye Weed

Or, sparrow over sycamore


Forget-me-not, Father, forget-me-not

Mother, forget

me not, Saints. For You created my in-

most being, You

knit me together in my mother’s womb

And, furthermore, I buried my husband

Bamboo, Goutweed

Evening Primrose

Mother don’t you weep, Mother, don’t


moan & Plantain Lily, widen your shawl

Solomon’s Seal

before you tighten it, Come by here, Lord

Come by here, Lord

What does it mean when our suffering returns?

twofold, threefold, fourfold, ten—& if they

turn, let us shout

let us shout, Saints

What shall we shout when our suffering


returns? If they can burn a cross, they can—

Lady’s Mantle

burn a church. If they can burn a church, they

can burn Coral

Bells. If they can burn Coral Bells, they can—

one bullet, two bullet, ten bullet, more

hushed white roses

Baby’s Breath, Prick-

ly Pear. I lack nothing.


Blood on a church pew like Snow in Summer

Dutch Iris, Dead

Nettle, Baby’s Breath


Queen Anne’s Lace. I lack

nothing. I shall not

I shall not

shovel winter

snow. No blood on pews,

nor floors, nor stairs at summer’s door.

from You Don’t Have to Go to Mars for LoveFind more by Yona Harvey at the library

Copyright © 2020 Yona Harvey
Used with the permission of The Permissions Company, LLC on behalf of Four Way Books.

Published in Poems Yona Harvey

This program is supported in part by a grant from the Idaho Humanities Council, a State-based program of the National Endowment for the Humanities.

Any views, findings, conclusions, or recommendations expressed in this (publication, website, exhibit, etc.) do not necessarily represent those of the Idaho Humanities Council or the National Endowment for the Humanities.