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Water Devil

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Spout of a leaf,
listen out for the screams
of your relentless audience:
the applause of a waterfall
in the distance,

a hurricane looting
a Miami shopping mall.
How careful you are
with the rain-cradling
curve of your back.

Near your forest,
all are ready to swim
and happy to drown
in me: this lake of fire
that moats the edges.

From my mouth,
they come to peel the flames
and drink their slick throats
into the most silent
of ashes.

Source: Poetry (January 2016)
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Water Devil

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  • Jamaal May was born and raised in Detroit. His first book, Hum (2013), won a Beatrice Hawley Award and an American Library Association Notable Book Award and was an NAACP Image Award nominee. Hum explores machines, technology, obsolescence, and community; in an interview, May stated of his first book, “Ultimately, I’m trying to say something about dichotomy, the uneasy spaces between disparate emotions, and by extension, the uneasy spaces between human connection.” May’s poems have appeared widely in journals such as Poetry, New England Review, The Believer, and Best American Poetry 2014. His second collection is The Big Book of Exit Strategies (2016).
     
    May’s honors and awards include a Spirit of Detroit Award, an Indiana Review Poetry Prize, and fellowships from Cave Canem, Bread Loaf,The Frost Place, the Lannan Foundation, and the Stadler Center for Poetry at Bucknell University. He is the 2014–2016 Kenyon Review Fellow at Kenyon College and a...

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