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Biography
Yusef Komunyakaa was born in Bogalusa, Louisiana in 1947. Komunyakaa’s books of poems include the following: GILGAMESH (a verse play); PLEASURE DOME: NEW & COLLECTED POEMS, 1975-1999; TALKING DIRTY TO THE GODS; THIEVES OF PARADISE, which was a finalist for the National Book Critics Circle Award; NEON VERNACULAR: NEW & SELECTED POEMS 1977-1989, which won the Pulitzer Prize and the Kingsley Tufts Poetry Award; MAGIC CITY; AND DIEN CAI DAU, which won The Dark Room Poetry Prize. His latest book, WAR HORSES, was published in 2008 by Farrar, Straus and Giroux. Komunyakaa is currently professor and Distinguished Senior Poet at New York University.

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POEMS

- by Yusef Komunyaka

SEVERAL MYSTERIES OF THE PLATYPUS

She tries to hide in a swish of wet grass

because she remembers the first man

like a wound, an old scar, a howl

in the hush.  Her skin is too tough

for the marketplace.  Otherwise,

she would've fallen under a bullet

or knife.  She came from an old world,

a prototype, the first chimera

pieced together by a prankish god

that first moment of light

seething from the cave,

an oath written on her back

by the edge of a flood.  Before

she slipped from the egg, she knew

a human face could make her heart

explore into a clutch of stars.