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About this poet

Ishion Hutchinson was born in Port Antonio, Jamaica. He received a BA from the University of the West Indies, an MFA from New York University, and, in 2012, a PhD from the University of Utah. Hutchinson is the author of House of Lords and Commons (Farrar, Straus and Giroux, 2016), winner of the 2016 National Book Critics Circle Award, and Far District (Peepal Tree Press, 2010), winner of the 2011 PEN/Joyce Osterweil Award. The recipient of a Whiting Award, he teaches at Cornell University and lives in Ithaca, New York.

Carol

Oaks or chestnuts, what here
                draws brass linen, wakes me, overcast,
                with the polished sprigs of my grandmother’s
                lamp, holding the plumed shade once

holding fire by her opened Bible, parsed
                for the night’s reading. Across dark and
                plywood, an aqueduct’s dry run, listen
                my voice, around her house, croton leaves

from the oven’s heat, levitating.
                Saturdays doubles her to a bee. I outstare
                the sea and summon the carols of Christmas;
                her fake pine tree, its foil star

perforates the town’s gossiping lights.
                I again turn the pages, she sleeps
                in the watered-down night.

Where do they go? Where do they go?

Copyright © 2018 Ishion Hutchinson. This poem originally appeared in Kenyon Review, November/December 2018. Used with permission of the author.

Copyright © 2018 Ishion Hutchinson. This poem originally appeared in Kenyon Review, November/December 2018. Used with permission of the author.

Ishion Hutchinson

Ishion Hutchinson

Ishion Hutchinson was born in Port Antonio, Jamaica. He is the author of House of Lords and Commons (Farrar, Straus and Giroux, 2016).

by this poet

poem

for Colin Channer

For these cramped fragments of Thomas,
           stir: ‘I had never loved England,’ and stir:
           ‘I had loved it foolishly,’ stir, transmuted:
           ‘like a slave, not having realized it was not mine.’

Ah, there, saint, captive, the sentinel is at

2
poem

The old trees shake out medals at midday
to the ship paused for a meteor’s blunting
glimpse in the windy yellow of the water,

partway to inventing another world.
Through the window’s tiger slats,
the bakery pumps smoke, years between

her irretrievable shawl, which crimsons
what

2
poem
First, above all, I live forever. And
thereafter redecorate paradise
in the majesty of the Roof Nightclub,
DJ Lucifer, at predawn hours
terrifies the floorboards to give way to
Apollyon’s abyss, reflecting scarred light
on the wall. The mirror alive with tremors.
 
Herons bring news of consolation.
I rebuke them
2