MiRan Powell attended Smith from 1982 to 1983, and her sister Chunjai Powell is from the class of 1983. The Smith Days photo was taken outside her sister's room in Park House. It is MiRan's goal to one day return to Smith and complete a degree in English, writing poetry.



 

 

 


 


 

MiRan Powell

 

Surfing Lesson

It is said that dolphins once were men
hence their willingness to save those
drowning in the froth and break
of a williwaw or lonely day
like the surfmen of old
wresting souls from Poseidon and his maids
sculpting tridents out of handfuls of sand

I should have returned it
except that I thought
it was a kind of omen, this golden charm
left on the hotel floor of my bedroom
to wish me luck, accompany me
on a somewhat treacherous journey
given I don’t know how to swim
not really, not well enough to survive
the pull of an infatuated tide
or avoid the intentions
in a shark’s sinuous wake

I guess I was hoping
for St. Elmo’s fire, some ESP, a sort of
Disneyesque transmutation into fish
in my quest to become water
to know the nirvana of being one
with the wave

It didn’t occur to me that maybe
it belonged in that reeky room
with seaweed lining the walls
pools of salt water gathering at the corners,
a private River Styx in which to practice
the lambent circling of parallels
its back perpetually arced
all but reaching the water
a Sisyphus rolling the rock
surfing through virtual surfaces
never knowing how close it really is
to the sea