Poetry Assignment: Write a poem about a time you were on the beach. Who was with you? What wildlife did you see? Why do you remember this time? What did you say? How did you feel? What did you sense--smell, touch, hear, taste, see? Do you have a photograph from your visit? Can you include the photograph in the poem?
The first stanza mentions her former grief having less pain with regard to the photograph she is examining. She describes two lost friends in the context of the beach. Her use of virus resonates in 2022 with Covid19 infections widespread but in her poem, it seems to refer to HIV.
The second stanza mentions her current location, on the train. Her emphasis on alternative communication styles is suggestive of the alternative lifestyle of her friends. Communication is her job as poet so she's including herself and her community in the poem.
The third stanza wonders about the happiness of her friends as shown rather than told but she uses a literary reference to broaden the meaning in the use of Sula and Ajax.
Her verse is terse, the description of friends exists in a t-shirt, a sardine description and skin and bones.
The style she is using is narrative, telling a tale, shifting from then to now to back then, and conveying changing emotion in the process from once grief to now not painful, once heavy, once full of happiness.
Her work can be found in a number of collections on Amazon including the "Vintage Book of African American Poets."