AMP. Always Electric.

Volume 4, No. 1

The Castle

The girl in the castle on the corner  
Between dark basement and white tower          
Lived with dead bodies somewhere,                                                                                                     
A waiting room of chemistry and prayer.

No princess entombed, she was only          
The undertaker’s child, a somewhat homely      
Grade-school classmate, her parental strangeness                 
Not quite equal to my mythical blackness.

Twice daily her other-worldly house      
I passed to reach the city bus    
That sped me to a hidden home  
One block beyond the parish zone.

We stopped at her curved stone porch   
Once, maybe twice, to scorn the parochial torch 
Rarely passed to dubious honor:
Her celestial caste, my purgatorial color.



{After the funeral home closed, The Castle operated for a while 
as a Springfield Avenue bed and breakfast.}

Yvonne

First poetry editor of two pioneer feminist magazines, Aphra and Ms., the poet Yvonne has received several awards including the National Endowment for the Arts (1974, 1984) for poetry and the Leeway Foundation (2003) for fiction (as Yvonne Chism-Peace). Some anthologies featuring her poems are: 161 One-Minute Monologues from Literature (Smith and Kraus), Catholic Girls (Plume/Penguin), Tangled Vines (HBJ), Celebrations: A New Anthology of Black American Poetry (Follett), Pushcart Prize Anthology and We Become New (Bantam). In-progress is a verse memoir, poems of which several appeared in 2018 in Quiet Diamonds (Orchard Street), Bosque Press #8, and the online ’zines Collateral, the WAIF Project, and Voices.