Up Next

An Appreciation

‘January 26, 2020’ — a poem for Vanessa Bryant

Poet Nikki Giovanni felt moved to write after watching the memorial for Kobe Bryant and his daughter

Listen to the poem, read by Nikki Giovanni.

It was a sad day for all of the mothers. Kobe Bryant was like a son to all of us — we watched him grow up. Hearing that Kobe and his daughter Gigi had left us was a sad day.

January 26, 2020

We don’t know
She does
He did
I can’t
You don’t
Know the last words
“The weather is bad
Don’t go
Stay home
They will be all
Right with out

We don’t know
And actually it’s not
Our business
Was she worried
Did she feel something
Did she wish
He would for once

But she most likely kissed
Them both wondering
What they might want
For dinner
Or snacks into the evening
When they came home

She hoped they would
But she was so tired
Maybe just a short
Just to close
Her eyes
For a minute
She was cold
Just needed to throw
A blanket over
Her feet
For just a minute

We don’t
Know what
She thought
Or said

It’s none
Of our business
And too sad
To think

Poet Nikki Giovanni was born in Knoxville, Tennessee, on June 7, 1943. Although she grew up in Cincinnati, Ohio, she and her sister returned to Knoxville each summer to visit their grandparents. Nikki graduated with honors in history from her grandfather's alma mater, Fisk University. Since 1987, she has been on the faculty at Virginia Tech, where she is a University Distinguished Professor.