Spring 2023 • Vol. XLV No. 2 PoetryApril 4, 2023 |

Redemption

After Killer of Sheep by Charles Burnett Across the street, the Atlantic is draining from the harbor. The aquatic pulse of the twelve million going back. A voice washes into the bay —  It’s my father. The father I once lost, pulling me back from my single mind. Dance with me, he is saying at the bar beside me. Studying him, I think about the Black worker: his grandfather, a sharecropper in ’Bama, then a factory worker at U. S. Steel in Cleveland, his father on the line at White Motor Co., then later my father first to think himself a citizen, signing up to join the Navy, a specialist of machines. I want to say the most important thing in the room is the jukebox. But it is the sea, the tide starting to come back into his eyes. Dance with me, he pleads from that place we go to sip brown, slip the blue collar, where four hours into the bottle he hears God’s voice and I hear his. Now I’m thirty-one days sober, deciding to lead myself on this path beyon

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Photo of Joy Priest

Joy Priest is the author of Horsepower (Pitt Poetry Series, 2020), winner of the Donald Hall Prize for Poetry. She is the recipient of a 2021 National Endowment for the Arts fellowship, a 2019–2020 Fine Arts Work Center fellowship, and the Stanley Kunitz Memorial Prize from The American Poetry Review. Her poems have appeared in the Academy of American Poets’ Poem-a-Day series, The Atlantic and The Nation, among others, as well as in commissions for the Museum of Fine Arts, Houston (MFAH) and the Los Angeles County Museum of Art (LACMA). She is the editor of Once a City Said: A Louisville Poets Anthology, forthcoming from Sarabande Books in 2023.

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After Killer of Sheep by Charles Burnett Across the street, the Atlantic is draining from the harbor. The aquatic pulse of the twelve million going back. A voice washes into […]

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After Killer of Sheep by Charles Burnett Across the street, the Atlantic is draining from the harbor. The aquatic pulse of the twelve million going back. A voice washes into […]

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