The Robert Watson Literary Prize Poem from THE BOOK OF REVELATION

Spring 2018 / Issue 103

Alison Powell

The first child arrived
as through the oiled doorway of the sea

then came the purple dark closing time
the world a sea of insects
rolling on a waterbed into oblivion

Now that I am a mother
I almost never dream

but when I do
I’m sorry

I dream of apocalypse

The first word of Book of Revelation
is apokalypsis
meaning unveiling

man digging into the velvet sack
of the ocean floor—

revealing its labyrinth of bleached coral
divesting the wrecks—

or how at the nursery my son chooses
two kinds of hyacinth to plant

and appraises them daily
until the blooms finally appear

then narrows his eyes
and pushes the flower
into his mouth

his sister laughing
running down the sidewalk
away from us

A child can get sick
on sweet things

and with that tongue
start talking

like a king