A late 20th-century poem with no end rhyme, but lots of internal and slant rhyme.


Facing It

By Yusef Komunyakaa

My black face fades,                             internal slant rhyme

hiding inside the black granite.   

I said I wouldn't  

dammit: No tears.   

I'm stone. I'm flesh.   

My clouded reflection eyes me   

like a bird of prey, the profile of night        internal rhyme

slanted against morning. I turn   

this way—the stone lets me go.                            slant rhyme

I turn that way—I'm inside   

the Vietnam Veterans Memorial again, depending on the light   

to make a difference.   

I go down the 58,022 names,   

half-expecting to find   

my own in letters like smoke.                       slant rhyme

I touch the name Andrew Johnson;   

I see the booby trap's white flash.   

Names shimmer on a woman's blouse   

but when she walks away   

the names stay on the wall.                           internal rhyme

Brushstrokes flash, a red bird's   

wings cutting across my stare.   

The sky. A plane in the sky.                         leonine rhyme

A white vet's image floats   

closer to me, then his pale eyes   

look through mine. I'm a window.   

He's lost his right arm   

inside the stone. In the black mirror                   alliteration

a woman’s trying to erase names:   

No, she's brushing a boy's hair.