The text to the poem is included in Crave Radiance.
Alexander's latest book is Crave Radiance: New and Selected Poems 1990-2010 [811.54 ALE], and she read several poems from it at the BBF.
What I like about Alexander's work is that she takes small bits and pieces of history and illuminates them. Here are a few poem titles: "Compass," about polar explorer Matthew Henson; "Affirmative Action Blues," about Rodney King; "Nat Turner Dreams of Insurrection." Alexander collaborated with poet Marilyn Nelson on Miss Crandall's School for Young Ladies and Little Misses of Color, and some of those poems are also included in the collection. If you don't know the story of Prudence Crandall, you can learn a little here.
One of the Miss Crandall poems is "We":
Colored are new to these townsfolk, who sayCheck out The Writer's Armchair for this week's Poetry Friday Round-Up.
we have come to take white husbands, but we
are young girls who do not think of such things.
They see us horned, tailed, befeathered, with
enormous bottoms and jaws that snap, red-
devil eyes that could hex a man and make him
leave home. Though the state has said no to slavery,
we know how it happens with colored girls
and white men, their red-devil eyes and tentacles.
Our mothers have taught us remarkably
to blot out these fears, black them out, and flood
our mind with light and God's great face.
We think about that which we cannot see:
something opening wide and bright, a key.