Poet jessica Care moore Pays Tribute to Legendary Actress Ruby Dee

Poet jessica Care moore pays tribute to actress Ruby Dee and Ossie Davis as part of ESSENCE’s celebration of Women’s History Month.

“Dear Ruby, Dear Ossie” will be published in jessica Care moore’s 5th collection of poetry, We Want Our Bodies Back, this summer on Moore Black Press. Below, find a tribute from poet Jessica Care moore (pictured below) and check back each week for more tributes to trailblazing Black women.

Dear Ruby, Dear Ossie,

Do you still put roses in her hair?

Do you still draw the clouds, and fluff them
for her head

Is the sun still sleeping in his eyes
Is heaven a place along his chest

Are you resting in a timeless embrace?

Do you still make her laugh
Does it still matter


Do you still hold her hands like diamonds
hiding in palms from fingers

Is eternity inside his kiss
Do you tie his tie, adjust his chapeau

do you dance, in the morning

Does Amiri and Maya or Sekou visit
to drink grapes &  share stories


Dear Ruby,

Some of us dare to be the exception
dare to be conductors of black love

Do you still, love to be


while the world travels at full speed

how glorious to watch us attempt  to
become the black doves you became.

do you still fly south for the winter
pick pecans & eat round sweet cherries
on a long wooden porch.

Dear Ossie,
thank you for your kind words in Harlem

Dear Ruby,
thank you for your fearlessness & hard laugh

In the lobby of the Schomberg
You told me you slapped Denzel Washington
in American Gangster.  It wasn’t
in the

I can hear your beautiful stutter – planned pauses
gracefully landing on your tongue.

eagle woman.

the morning of your funeral
I’d spent the evening celebrating our sister
Sonia’s 80th birthday.  I watched her and
Haki get in a car headed to Harlem.

I was in so much pain from losing Amiri.
I wasn’t ready to bury another legend.

Forgive me.

Dear Ruby
Dear Ossie

We know we are possible
we know we can be gazelles
on planet surrounded by wolves

Is his voice the sound of water
Is her smile the perfect moonlight

Do you remember
when it was all a dream

do you still love to get on your toes
to reach his nose
kiss his neck

Is she still your Brooklyn Juliet, in a Spike Lee Joint?
Da Mayor
& Mother Sister

Dear Ruby,

thank you for loving us.

Thank you for loving each other
So that we would see ourselves  in your reflection
thank you for your life/work.
for your voices & bodies as gifts

Now that you are true stars
can you see
you were
our greatest wish?

jessica Care moore

jessica Care moore’s fourth collection of poetry, Sunlight Through Bullet Holes, and debut album, Black Tea, The Legend of Jessi James, are available now.

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