“At nights birds hammered my unborn”

By Ishion Hutchinson Ishion Hutchinson
At nights birds hammered my unborn
child’s heart to strength, each strike bringing

bones and spine to glow, her lungs pestled
loud as the sea I was raised a sea anemone

among women who cursed their hearts
out, soured themselves, never-brides,

into veranda shades, talcum and tea moistened
their quivering jaws, prophetic without prophecy.

Anvil-black, gleaming garlic nubs, the pageant arrived with sails unfurled
from Colchis and I rejoiced like a broken

asylum to see burning sand grains, skittering ice;
shekels clapped in my chest, I smashed my head against a lightbulb

and light sprinkled my hair; I rejoiced, a poui
tree hit by the sun in the room, a man, a man.

Source: Poetry (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, Parenthood, Sorrow & Grieving, The Body, Relationships, Family & Ancestors

POET’S REGION U.S., New England

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Originally appeared in Poetry magazine.

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