- They deny good luck, love, power, romance, and inspiration
From La Jac Brite ointment and incense of all kinds,
And condemn in writing skin brightening and whitening
and whitening of minds.
There is upon the federal trade commission a burden of glory
So to defend the fact, so to impel
The plucking of hope from the hand, honor from the complexion,
Sprite from the spell.
- "Government Injunction Restraining Harlem Cosmetic Co." (1941) St. 2–3; Collected Poems, University of Illinois Press, 1983
- Death did not come to my mother
Like an old friend.
She was a mother, and she must
Up and down the bed she fought crying
Help me, but death
Was a slow child
- "Conception" (1974) st. 1–2; Collected Poems, University of Illinois Press, 1983