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Recorded for Poem-a-Day, February 26, 2016.
About this Poem 

“This poem was inspired by the death of Michael Brown, particularly the way in which Brown’s death and the ensuing protests were covered (or, in many cases, not covered) on mainstream media. Social media and the #BlackLivesMatter movement kept this story from being buried or ignored. This poem is about witness, the most powerful tool we have against injustice and state-sponsored violence, terror, discrimination, and murder. The poem is not an elegy. It is a report on America.”
—D. A. Powell

Long Night Full Moon

You only watch the news to find out
where the fires are burning, which way
the wind is blowing, and whether
it will rain. Forecast ahead but first:
A mother’s boy laid out
in the street for hours.
These facts don’t wash away.

Copyright © 2016 D. A. Powell. Used with permission of the author.

Copyright © 2016 D. A. Powell. Used with permission of the author.

D. A. Powell

D. A. Powell

D. A. Powell's most recent books are Repast: Tea, Lunch, Cocktails (Graywolf Press, 2014) and Useless Landscape, or a Guide for Boys: Poems (Graywolf Press, 2012).

by this poet

A lone cloudburst hijacked the Doppler radar screen, a bandit
hung from the gallows, in rehearsal for the broke-necked man,
damn him, tucked under millet in the potter's plot. Welcome
to disaster's alkaline kiss, its little clearing edged with twigs,
and posted against trespass. Though finite, its fence is
and yet we think that song outlasts us all:  wrecked devotion
the wept face of desire, a kind of savage caring that reseeds itself and grows in clusters

oh, you who are young, consider how quickly the body deranges itself
how time, the cruel banker, forecloses us to snowdrifts white as god's own ribs

        "Your gang's done gone away."
                —The 119th Calypso, Cat's Cradle, Kurt Vonnegut, Jr.

Something seems to have gnawed that walnut leaf.

You face your wrinkles, daily, in the mirror.
But the wrinkles are so slimming, they rather flatter.

Revel in the squat luck of that unhappy tree,