A Tempest in a Teacup
Prospero Assume, just for a moment, I am denied a job in the factory of my dreams under the fluorescent lights of a porcelain white foreman. It’s orderly and neat. I feed my family. No one questions my face. I raised my son in my likeness, so he would never go unseen, bobbing on a wave of expectation, I set in motion with my back put into my work, praying for my country, blessed with more of me, never worrying about those who might die, or those who did, trying to stir a storm, trying to stand where I’m standing.
Copyright © 2018 by A. Van Jordan. Originally published in Poem-a-Day on July 16, 2018, by the Academy of American Poets.
“This poem is part of a series of poems in which characters from The Tempest become composite characters who wrestle with the tensions around how we talk about race today, particularly when that talk is gendered. Prospero represents the older, straight white male who fears the cultural shift in America, without seeing the benefits of that shift both for America and even for himself.”
—A. Van Jordan