Alison Powell received an MFA from Indiana University and a PhD from the City University of New York Graduate Center. She is the author of On the Desire to Levitate (Ohio University Press, 2014), winner of the Hollis Summers Poetry Prize. Powell teaches at Oakland University in Rochester, Michigan.
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If We Speak of the Hurricane
of whiteness and the horn of plenty, if it is even a horn; if there is such a thing if destruction is ceaseless; if my son’s hand reaches for a cotton blanket or a cat’s tail, if we have our eyes on him, if I describe his hand as pillowy; if the world is a tower of breakable plates for the white son, if he is unaware of the supernatural- seeming inventions that sustain white hunger; if Hades has its own horn made of ivory for drinking; if hunger tightens the guts of others; if it is described as inevitable or accidental; if the description is written by the same hunger; if he is just a boy asking about justice at the mall; if his father and I cannot help but love his locomotive of curiosity, its erratic perpetuity, shark, shots, Mars, if we wonder how it will end; if zoo doctor, if astronomer, if madman; if we speak of the white shark, if they are nearly missing, if the bleaching of coral; if the four of us trudge upstairs at bedtime single file making train sounds are we acting as a tribe; if we fear the world; if four feels a tribe; if our son assigns himself the role of conductor; if his sister laughs, cheek against my shoulder; if I carry her body carefully like her body were glass, a white object; if tired from school, my son dreams of cities lit up and falling, fireflies collapsing, bees and honey; if at school he traces letters with happy concentration; if, using a push pin to punch out the shapes of continents he asks his teacher why he cannot punch out the ocean, why just continents, why can’t he pin-punch the ocean; if at school he pours water from a red pitcher into a bowl, spills some, threads yarn through a card; if twice yearly there is the interruption of a lockdown drill, the crackling loudspeaker, if his teacher asks anyone who is afraid to raise their hand, if she says This is for the wild animal who may at any moment enter