“A furnace in my father’s voice; I prayed for the coal stove’s”

By Ishion Hutchinson Ishion Hutchinson
A furnace in my father’s voice; I prayed for the coal stove’s
roses, a cruise ship lit like a castle

on fire in the harbor we never walked,
father and son, father drifting down

the ferned hell his shanty shone, where,
inside, in my head, the lamp was the lamp.

The market, the park, the library not a soul
but grandmother’s morning wash lifting toward heaven,

the barrister sun punished my sister, I stared at my hand
in a book, the horizon declined in my mouth.

My little earthshaker, visored in placenta,
wonder of wonders, tremulous in amniotic

shield, ensouled already, father in the veritable
night, without house or harbor,

soon sea in a voice will harrow
a scorpion’s blaze in me, to the marrow.

Source: Poetry (April 2014).


This poem originally appeared in the April 2014 issue of Poetry magazine

April 2014
 Ishion  Hutchinson


Born in Port Antonio, Jamaica, poet Ishion Hutchinson earned a BA at the University of the West Indies, an MFA at New York University, and a PhD at the University of Utah.
Hutchinson’s narrative poems interrogate landscape, measuring the elusive weight of colonial history. Reviewing Far District for the Huffington Post in 2010, poet Carol Muske-Dukes notes that as readers of the collection “[w]e are here to reinvestigate . . .

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Poem Categorization

SUBJECT Living, Infancy, Parenthood, Relationships, Family & Ancestors

POET’S REGION U.S., New England

Poetic Terms Couplet

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