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About this Poem 

“Writing this poem I was thinking of strangers helping to dig a friend’s car out of the snow; how that friend, born in France, once expressed frustration with Americans who teach children to fear strangers; why snowfall in Pittsburgh can feel routine and defeating; domestic abuse; and how to collapse those thoughts into one space.”
Yona Harvey

The Subject of Retreat

Your black coat is a door
in the storm. The snow
we don’t mention
clings to your boots & powders
& puffs. & poof. Goes.
Dust of the fallen. Right here
at home. The ache
of someone gone-missing. Walk it off
like a misspoken word.
Mound of snow. Closed door.
I could open it.

Or maybe just, you know—
brush it off.

Then what? The snow
on the other side. The sound
of what I know & your, no, inside it.

Copyright © 2015 by Yona Harvey. Used with permission of the author.

Copyright © 2015 by Yona Harvey. Used with permission of the author.

Yona Harvey

Yona Harvey

Yona Harvey is the author of the poetry collection, Hemming the Water (Four Way Books, 2013) and a coauthor of Marvel's Black Panther and the Crew (2017) and World of Wakanda (Marvel, 2016).

by this poet

I hesitate invoking that
my daughter's mouth
not her first vanity
she tastes & smoothes
her chin this way & that,
bones replacing the fallen. 
it repairs itself: two
   forming new words:
Nobody straightens their hair anymore.
Space trips & limited air supplies will get you conscious quick.
My shea-buttered braids glow planetary
as I turn unconcerned, unburned by the pre-take-off bother.
“Leave it all behind,” my mother’d told me,
sweeping the last specs of copper

Four tickets left, I let her go—
Firstborn into a hurricane.

I thought she escaped
The floodwaters. No—but her

Head is empty of the drowned
For now—though she took

Her first breath below sea level.
Ahhh       awe       &       aw
Mama, let me go—she speaks