Friday, January 16, 2009

Keeping the Night Watch

Smith, Hope Anita. 2008. Keeping the Night Watch. Illustrated by E.B. Lewis. Henry Holt. 74 pages.

Keeping the Night Watch is a sequel (companion novel?) to The Way A Door Closes. However, you don't have to have read the first book to enjoy and appreciate this one. Our hero and narrator is a young African-American man named C.J. who is struggling with finding his place in his family now that his father has reentered the picture and rejoined his family. C.J. grew into being 'the man' of the family. But now where does he belong? He can't go back to being a child? Can he?

Hope Anita Smith's poems are powerfully authentic as they examine the ins and outs, ups and downs of family life.

Family Cooking Instructions

Their conversation is sweet.
Their words are light and airy
like a just-baked cake.
They sugarcoat it
to cover up any flaws or imperfections.
Try to hide the sunken part.
They are so careful,
each wearing their own apron
to protect their clothed selves.
And that's why,
when I show up,
metal-cold and steel-gray,
they are not prepared.
I slice through
and we ooze out.
That's when we see that
we are not done in the middle.
We need to bake a little longer.


© Becky Laney of Becky's Book Reviews


Anonymous said...

This sounds like it could be an interesting book. It would be a hard topic to write on, if the author can pull it off, it would speak mountains of their writing talent.

Tony Peters
Kids on a Case: The Case of the Ten GRand Kidnapping

Andromeda Jazmon said...

I enjoyed Door. From this poem I think I am going to like Night Watch too! I'll have to make sure we have it on the library list. The images in this poem are so clear and sharp. Great wit! Thanks for posting it.