As the title of Knight's poem suggests, “A Wasp Woman Visits a Black Junkie in Prison” describes an encounter between an upper-class white woman and the black junkie she visits in jail. Although the junkie feels confused and even indignant upon first meeting his visitor, the two begin to fish “for a denominator, common or uncommon” and eventually “summon up the fact that both [are] human.” This poem offers an opportunity to explore our shared humanity, the assumptions we make about those who are different from us, and the value of dialogue and conversation, even if, as Knight says, “no shackles are shaken.”
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