Afaa Michael Weaver has published 11 books of poetry, including My Father’s Geography and The Plum Flower Dance: Poems 1985-2005, and his most recent collection, Like the Wind, a translation of selected and new poems into Arabic. In 2008, he received a Pushcart Prize for his poem, “American Income.” The author of short fiction and plays, he edited These Hands I Know: African-American Writers on Family, a finalist for the Multicultural Book Award. He is the recipient of an NEA fellowship and a PEW fellowship in Poetry and was the first African American poet to hold the post of Poet-in-Residence at the Stadler Poetry Center at Bucknell University. He has taught at Taiwan National University as a Fulbright Scholar and received a gold friendship medal from the Chinese Writers’ Association in Beijing. He is Alumnae Professor of English at Simmons College, where he convenes an international festival of contemporary Chinese poetry, with poets attending from Mainland China, Hong Kong and Taiwan. He is a a Cave Canem faculty member.


My Father’s Geography

I was parading the Côte d’Azur,
hopping the short trains from Nice to Cannes,
following the maze of streets in Monte Carlo
to the hill that overlooks the ville.
A woman fed me pâté in the afternoon,
calling from her stall to offer me more.
At breakfast I talked in French with an old man
about what he loved about America–the Kennedys.

On the beaches I walked and watched
topless women sunbathe and swim,
loving both home and being so far from it.

At a phone looking to Africa over the Mediterranean,
I called my father, and, missing me, he said,
“You almost home boy. Go on cross that sea!”