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Poetry Moment: Gabeba Baderoon and 'The Edges of Things'

WPSU Poetry Moment Gabeba Baderoon

Poetry Moment on WPSU is a program featuring the work of contemporary Pennsylvania poets. Host Shara McCallum is this year’s Penn State Laureate.

Today’s poem is “The Edges of Things” by Gabeba Baderoon.

Gabeba Baderoon is the author three books of poetry, The Dream in the Next Body, A Hundred Silences, and The History of Intimacy. From South Africa, Baderoon is a member of the editorial board of the African Poetry Book Fund. She has lived in central Pennsylvania for many years, where she co-directs the African Feminist Initiative at Penn State University and is an Associate Professor of Women’s, Gender, and Sexuality Studies and of African Studies.

Baderoon often writes of her native South Africa. In “The Edges of Things,” Baderoon turns her attention toward her adopted home. The poem is a snapshot of a chance encounter the poet has with a fox attempting to cross the highway. Freezing this brief moment and addressing the fox, Baderoon delivers a beautiful, lyric meditation. The poem enacts the poet’s glimpsing the ‘edges of things’ like longing, intimacy, and time’s passing.

Here's—

The Edges of Things

Evening’s soft forgiveness of the edges of things,
budding purple birches, yellow willows,
a still figure lingering on the margins.

Waiting fox, where are you going?
I hope back on the path behind you.
Nothing here is worth the crossing.

Stay there, recede.
You might never have been.

I am glad you broke cover

But go back, vanish
into private lanes
only you know.

Leave me longing
at this point on Route 84

we were both passing
and may never see again.

That was “The Edges of Things” by Gabeba Baderoon.

And with Poetry Moment on WPSU, I’m Shara McCallum. Thanks for sharing this moment of poetry with me today.

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