A POEM FOR CAROL

By Nikki Giovanni

when I was very little
though its still true today
there were no sidewalks in Lincoln Heights
and the home we had on Jackson street
was right next to a bus stop and a sewer
which didn't really ever become offensive
but one day from the sewer a little kitten
with one eye gone
came crawling out
though she never really came into our yard but just
sort of hung by to watch the folk
my sister who was always softhearted but able
to act effectively started taking milk
out to her while our father would only say
don't bring him home and every day
after school I would rush home and see if she was still
there and if Gary had fed her but I could never
bring myself to go near her
she was so loving
and so hurt and so singularly beautiful and I knew
i had nothing to give that would
replace her one gone eye.
And if I had named her which I didn't I'm sure
I would have called her carol.