Summer 2013 • Vol. XXXV No. 3 PoetryJuly 1, 2013 |

The Hum of Zug Island

In Windsor they blame it on machines across the Detroit River. Residents can't ignore the low frequency hum taking the shape of a sea serpent on oscilloscopes. Beyond gray snow, plastic bags, and crushed hypodermic needles, I know Zug Island is humming—waiting the way the organs in me are waiting. My body is a building full of machines, some more complex than others: needle nosed pliers, pistols, a satellite—all ignoring my commands to sit still. But the snow wants to kiss us, I hear my skin say. The sea, pouring from gutters toward the sea that must be out there waiting— eardrums covet the rushing. Just snow melting, I say to the thrumming machines, but my voice is easy to ignore. So I find myself drawn again to needles of light through drawn blinds, needles of wind through a window's failing. A sea of all the outside I try to ignore, the hum that won't calm and won't wait. This oscillating piston of a heart, the machine that should know better, wan

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Jamaal May is a poet and editor from Detroit, Michigan where he has taught poetry in public schools and worked as a freelance audio engineer and touring performer. His first full-length collection, Hum (Alice James Books, 2013), received the Beatrice Hawley Award and an NAACP Image Award nomination. Other honors include the 2013 Indiana Review Poetry Prize and a 2011-2013 Stadler Fellowship. Jamaal’s poems appear in such publications as New Republic, the Believer, Poetry, Ploughshares, and Best American Poetry.

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