& After the Power Came Back
for the students
The great dead circled the serrated
hills; they tried to remind you
to breathe. An old rat crawled
under fire-forgotten rocks; it was called
& pulled to a movable nothing
far from the human need to
heed & heal. Maybe you can’t
find it now, but the season
hauls the wind inside & because
you’re a student, you can put
some questions in your phone, especially
when you feel you shouldn’t cry…
Stipple the worry, the grief-torn, those
patterns of should & won’t ::; new
minutes set in past danger— spikelet
or callus on the roadside; you
stop in awe & are home.
Your human burden varies; the once
boundless freedom you sought even in
private still pulses on your skin...
The little thistles between the human
& non-human animals, the linked auras
in trees & a colorful radiance
of bodies are hunched to begin—
Copyright © Brenda Hillman. This poem originally appeared in Clade Song. Used with permission of the author.
Brenda Hillman is the author of ten poetry collections, including In a Few Minutes Until Later (Wesleyan University Press, 2022) and Extra Hidden Life, among the Days (Wesleyan University Press, 2018). She received the Academy of American Poets Fellowship in 2012 and currently serves as a Chancellor of the Academy of American Poets.
Date Published: 2020-12-01
Source URL: https://poets.org/poem/after-power-came-back