Sean Singer’s first book, Discography, won the 2001 Yale Series of Younger Poets Prize, selected by W.S. Merwin, and the Norma Farber
First Book Award from the Poetry Society of America. He is also the recipient of a Fellowship from the National Endowment for the Arts. He is a Ph.D. student in American Studies at Rutgers-Newark. He lives in Harlem, New York City.
The Back of the Black is a Train
A man lived in the tropics and he was Father.
And when he spoke the child hid. The child
Sang his years out like blood so it rained on the roof
Instead. Father cut trees. Coconut palms and Queen palms
Blew like copper. What have you done at home, to disappear?
In the river called Matanzas, meaning killing, said
The Father while the children were hid. Find an undershirt
By the door, or a saw to trim the palms which hold the wind.
Everybody says he’s difficult to live with—The pressure
Is too much so he blows up. With two nickels and icy eyes
The child could leave the village in the seething heat.
The man from the tropics said the tree died of a fungus,
Don’t you see the white rot in the trunk here,
That it must have to be cut down and pointed so the child
Shut his eyes, said the man I mean Father in the tropics.