Bolt

[For Usain Bolt]

“The awesome weight of the world had not yet descended
upon his athlete’s shoulders.”
–Elizabeth Alexander, “Rally”

 The weight of the universe settles
On his mountainous, Jamaican
Shoulders.  He kneels in the towering bowl
Of the Olympic Stadium, in prayer, bracing
Against the shackles of the starting blocks.   His knees
Ignore the hard-life grit of the track.   He points up
And the wind carries his prayer to a God
Beyond the traffic of clouds, his heart booming
Like church drums.   The track
Looks up at him like an island sky here
In the soul of Brazil.   The crowd roars like
Wind through the woodlands of Trelawny,
Cameras winking like party women.   He breathes in
Silence and must carry the world now.   His name
Shouted in every accent.   One hundred meters
Between him and a smile on every Jamaican’s
Face.   The green and gold waves
Of the crowd brings up carnival, dancehall,
Colorful homes back home, poor people staring up
At him now beneath clock towers in town squares
From Kingston to Negril.   In the end, he’ll joke
And dance to forget the fueling stings of poverty.   The gun
Explodes and he jets off like maroons
Running to clear a future.

 

Rayon Lennon was born in rural Jamaica; he moved to New Haven County, Connecticut,
United States of America when he was 13. He currently resides in New Haven, CT. He holdsa B.A. in English with a concentration in creative writing from Southern Connecticut State University. He holds a master’s degree in Social Work. His work has been published widely in various literary magazines, including, The Main Street RagStepAway MagazineFolioThe Connecticut River Review, The African American ReviewNoctua ReviewThe Connecticut ReviewCallaloo and Rattle. His poems have won numerous poetry awards, including the 2017 Rattle Poetry Prize contest for his poem “Heard”; he won the Folio Poetry Contest for three consecutive years–2007, 2008, and 2009. He won the Noctua Review Poetry Contest in 2014 and 2015. He also won Rattle’s Poets Respond contest in 2015. His first book of poems, Barrel Children, was released in March, 2016, by Main Street Rag Publishing Company. Barrel Children was a finalist for the 2017 Connecticut Book Award for best poetry book. He is currently working on new collection of poems entitled Homeless at Home.