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


 Komunyaka reads Facing It. Start at 5.02 into the recording

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.