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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). She lives in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania.

By This Poet

4

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.

Hurricane

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

What every smart child knows—
To get grown you unlatch

Your hands from the grown
& up & up & up & up
She turns—latched in the seat

Of a hurricane. You let
Your girl what? You let

Your girl what?
I did so she do I did
so she do so—

Girl, you can ride
A hurricane & she do
& she do & she do & she do

She do make my river
An ocean. Memorial,
Baptist, Protestant birth—my girl

Walked away from a hurricane.
& she do & she do & she do & she do
She do take my hand a while longer.

The haunts in my pocket
I’ll keep to a hum: Katrina was
a woman I knew. When you were

an infant she rained on you & she

do & she do & she do & she do

Gingivitis, Notes on Fear

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:
      brushing past


What is the tongue-
between trauma &
Incident &


Think


There is so much to fear.


& now my second-born,


brush, he says,



doubled emptiness: open—
in the bathroom mirror—
but first blook inkling
with her tongue. She turns
anticipating her future: new
If the body survives,
pillars—wider, stronger
   adolescent declarations
      seasoned gums


span
terror?
accident?


on these things.


How will we fear it all?


my son:          If I don't


a disease will attack my gums.