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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.

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