poem index

sign up to receive a new poem-a-day in your inbox

A Moth in the Projectorlight [excerpt]

Joshua Marie Wilkinson

          ***

Even if only in photographs—
a laundry truck, seconds after.
Phone in the apartment ringing
above the accident & a coroner
careful enough to stay speechless
until the wind picks up
& the passersby can smell simply
the blood, like fresh wood or
cut metal.

          ***

A boy of six cups his hands
around a wet moth
as he stands up
in the bathtub
releasing it to the mirrorlight.
Beige wingdust on his palm.

          ***

Yellow. The room is orange
& black also. Water
a whistle, draining in his mother’s tub.

          ***
This is the part of the story where
you leave
          & where I come in.
                                        Wait
there
          no—
                    there
around the corner for the signal:
the greenfinch
your twin sisters will
free from the balcony.

          ***

Came around
smelling of rye.
Aluminum dust under his
fingernails.

          ***

Memory opens a little door:
the dark & you listen
with your eyes
& write things in my letter
you’ll pretend later
to forget.

          ***

A kid at the mailbox sings that
your brothers are deader than doorlocks,
that your mother lives
in their teeth.

          ***

                    City of
no center, broke-lit
from the team of horses
asleep standing
under the great lamps.

          ***

A curse of split melon
on the kitchen counter

draws me out into the snowdrift.
White heat from the boy’s breath
& the toy house’s tiny doorbell
chimes somehow in the empty room
startling the cat.

          ***

You took your apricot dress to the drycleaners
& left it forever.

          ***

Haystink, humming street ruckus, moonlit
thumb-slice—
Each evening I peek into that mailbox
for what my father’s unable to tell me
on the edge of my own bed
feeling that
morning will scorch
into the sockets of his arms
& that he is
drinking           sorry again
Anna           sleep
sorry again.

From Lug Your Careless Body out of the Careful Dusk by Joshua Marie Wilkinson. Reprinted with permission of the publisher. All rights reserved.

From Lug Your Careless Body out of the Careful Dusk by Joshua Marie Wilkinson. Reprinted with permission of the publisher. All rights reserved.

Joshua Marie Wilkinson

by this poet

poem

One boy is a liar & says there's a block of salt under his bed to draw deer in from the orchard. One boy says the pantry wall will open if you say an untold anagram of his name. One boy is already dressed when he wakes up for his young father's wedding. One boy hides a turtle from his brothers in a dresser

poem
But the moths find you, phantom.

       & the crackle
       of the javelinas
       in the brush

       old litany
       defiled the doorling
       stood canon toting

So, you know the ground here? Where else 
is new or to you called unknown:

       gumtree tipping
       onto the marsh 
       meadow'