African American Poetry (1870-1928): A Digital Anthology

Otto Bohanan, "The Washer-Woman" (1916)

A great swart cheek and the gleam of tears,
The flutter of hopes and the shadow of fears,
And all day long the rub and scrub
With only a breath betwixt tub and tub.
Fool! Thou hast toiled for fifty years
And what hast thou now but thy dusty tears?
In silence she rubbed . . . But her face I had seen,
Where the light of her soul fell shining and clean.

Published in The Crisis, June 1916

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