Erik Gliebermann

Poem for Mandela

As it happens, our upcoming issue features a poem about Mandela. The author, Erik Gliebermann, is an academic and writing mentor in San Francisco. He visited Robben Island a few years ago and took a small rock from it. He wrote the poem on the rock and gave it to one of our poetry editors as a present. It seems appropriate to run it here quickly, as a tribute to the man on the day of his funeral.  

From the Soil


On the prison rooftop Mandela

grew tomatoes to feed every man,

the one who bled from the neck,

tightened the rope,

considered reprieve,

cleaned shit and memory

the next morning.

One flesh digests the seeds.