Hurricane Safety Drill
We were always watching
for a hurricane to stare
us down, horrified to look
Isabel, Maria, and Ivan
straight in the eye
for the sky to twin
with the blacktop our teacher
calling our names against
a dirge of raindrops
for our desks to be swept
by gusts of wind slinging
shards of hale and glass
through cracked windowpanes
for our teacher to shrink into
child, as horripilation swells
on Isabel, Maria and Ivan
with no relief in sight
for our heads to sink
into cavities of elbow and
knee our bodies wedged
teeth in the hallway
for the loose tooth rocking
in and out of his place, giving
the adults chase until thunder
dismisses his sudden recess
for the realization to float as
flood thrashed cars, that we
did not have an alarm nor sign
for wind, our ruin would come
if we stopped watching
A Drive through July Showers
Have you ever stopped at a light
and hoped it didn't turn green?
That your car would soak the velvet
luminescence and become the lover
that sponged passion from your touch.
Have you ever touched something
and felt it withdraw? Like a poorly
aligned steering wheel veering
far from the right—
Would you feel right if a Lexus
passes you in speed-up rage,
while you abide by cautious eyes
ensuring the safety of those around you?
Would you feel safe under scalding rain
that croons about a love to die for?
Might you think to twist the dial and
seek a beat that will soothe you.
Maybe you'll study windshield wipers
in idleness and stir about a sway
unlike splattered raindrops, smeared
lipstick stains into a hazy imprint—
it looks just like the rosy mist of
stoplight radiance striking vapor
risen from a running car's hood.
If this light turns green how would
you know when to stop moving on?
Jorrell Watkins (Brotha Jorrell) is an educator and artist from Richmond, VA. He earned his B.A from Hampshire College. From 2014-2017, he served as the Director of the nationally touring Hip-hop Theater play, Mixed Race Mixtape. He was a 2018 National Young Playwright in Residence at the Echo Theater Company. Currently, he is a MFA Poetry candidate at the University of Iowa, Writer's Workshop, where at the same university he is a Diversity Fellow with the Center for Disabilities and Development. Outside of writing he is a 1st degree black belt in Shotokan Karate and an intermediate beginner in salsa dancing. You can find him on Instagram and Twitter @brothajorrell.