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Recorded for Poem-a-Day, May 17, 2016.
About this Poem 

“My grandmother, Aunt May, was a gifted baker, and in the limit of her kitchen, as in the limit of the poverty she lived through, she made bread that was my joy.”
—Ishion Hutchinson

From the Peninsula

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 I see, watching further and further,
until canisters shatter into nitrate stars,

late at night, saluting an unforgiving song.
I tilt down on her iron bed and cluster
haunted basil, the scent rifts morning open

to argon of cobwebs, the dim cargo, the bent
hills, the black gold, her hands, clasped
shut her children, long gone, under the sea.
 

Copyright © 2016 by Ishion Hutchinson. Originally published in Poem-a-Day on May 17, 2016, by the Academy of American Poets.

Copyright © 2016 by Ishion Hutchinson. Originally published in Poem-a-Day on May 17, 2016, by the Academy of American Poets.

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

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