Visible Man

Remembering Ralph Ellison

His hometown decided to honor him at last.

We had grown up six blocks from each other

but all those people who lived south of Tenth Street

were like ghosts to me.

The opposite of vampires, they appeared

to do yard work, clean houses, wash the cars or cook

during daylight hours.

Then faded into the shadows at night,

But there he was that night,

my dinner partner,

accompanied by his wife;

this courtly, gentle, kind teacher and writer

invisible no more.

Janet Taliaferro