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.
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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?