poem index


Derrick Austin

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Derrick Austin was born in Homestead, Florida. He received a BA from the University of Tampa and, in 2014, an MFA from the University of Michigan. He is the author of Trouble the Water (BOA Editions, 2016), selected by Mary Szybist for the 2015 A. Poulin Jr. Prize. A Cave Canem fellow, he currently serves as the 2016–2017 Ron Wallace Poetry Fellow at the Wisconsin Institute of Creative Writing.

by this poet


There used to be no one here,
where cypresses and oaks play
shadow puppets on sawgrass.

You heard the music before
I did: tambourines, pan pipes.
Remember how I woke clean

to meet you each morning?
The dew and the dust?
Remember how you’d catch me

as I fell from trees


Disembark the Turners seem to say,
those starburst barges glowing in the dusk,
but I can’t read old Rembrandt,
his guarded eyes are jewels, like black men.
Even the loaned, marble busts
of kings and soldiers fail to arrest you.
It’s nearly closing time. The elderly linger,