Alison Powell

Conditions

Animals drift out there
in the monotonous green
of ChernobylA fact known to most of us
theoretically
which is to say
photographically

They use the magnetic fields
of the earth to find their way
& develop a cryptography
for the centuries
to which we are not invited

Parentheticals
littering a final corner
of this intestinal kingdom

until the sea gulps
our world of metal
down like an oyster

and the heat
having waylaid the ice
wraps a plush robe of steam

around us         leading us to the edge
of everything

Bless us, then

—​  having actually written the thing
and written it again
and laid it out before us—

Bless us, that
we will be still

astonished

eyes skyward

open mouths
little drowned fowl

Memorizing

the red carpet
rice thrown at weddings
the ark on the mountaintop

how we had lorded
over the wheel             like a God
inflammable


Alison Powell’s first book of poems, On the Desire to Levitate, was awarded the Hollis Summers Poetry Prize and published by Ohio University Press in March 2014. Recent work has appeared or is forthcoming in Alaska Quarterly Review, Boston Review, Copper Nickel, and Michigan Quarterly Review. She is Assistant Professor of Poetry at Oakland University, where she is current faculty adviser of the international undergraduate magazine The Oakland Arts Review.