By D. A. Powell b. 1963
How is it that you hold such influence over me:
your practiced slouch, your porkpie hat at rakish angle,
commending the dumpling-shaped lump atop your pelvis—
as if we’ve one more thing to consider amidst
the striptease of all your stanzas and all your lines—
draws me down into the center of you: the prize peony,
so that I’m nothing more than an ant whose singular labor
is to gather the beading liquid inside you; bring it to light.

I have never written a true poem, it seems. Snatches
of my salacious dreams, sandwiched together all afternoon
at my desk, awaiting the dark visitation of The Word.
When you arrive, unfasten your notebook, and recite,
I am only a schoolboy with a schoolboy’s hard mind.
You are the headmaster. Now you must master me.

Source: Poetry (February 2010).


This poem originally appeared in the February 2010 issue of Poetry magazine

February 2010
 D. A. Powell


Born in Albany, Georgia, D.A. Powell earned an MA at Sonoma State University and an MFA at the Iowa Writers’ Workshop. His first three collections of poetry, Tea, (1998), Lunch (2000), and Cocktails (2004), are considered by some to be a trilogy on the AIDS epidemic. Lunch was a finalist for the National Poetry Series, and Cocktails was a finalist for the National Book Critics Circle Award for poetry. His next two books were . . .

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Poem Categorization

SUBJECT Activities, School & Learning, Arts & Sciences, Poetry & Poets


Poetic Terms Sonnet, Free Verse

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Originally appeared in Poetry magazine.

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