poem index

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

occasions

About this poet

Marcus Wicker is the author of Silencer (Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, 2017) and Maybe the Saddest Thing (HarperPerennial, 2012), which won the National Poetry Series and was a finalist for an NAACP Image Award. He has received fellowships from Cave Canem, the Fine Arts Work Center, and the Poetry Foundation. Wicker is the poetry editor of Southern Indiana Review, and he teaches at the University of Memphis.

Morning in the Burbs

But God, I love the cul-de-sac
at seven a.m., I can’t help it!
This wind-streaming-between-
grass-blades point of view!
 
But this punctuated lawn
I stand upon! The family 
of shrubs, flat-topped & shaped
into a question mark:
 
the eye of its mouth, my favorite
standing place. A painter’s steel
scaffold: against the neighbor’s
gutter like a concert glockenspiel.
 
The souped-up air conditioning:
     in monk octaves. The sheer
wash of it all, water rushing
from a bucket:          A man soaping
 
down his Saab, tie sly tucked.
Two cable guys sharing a joint
in a horseshoe drive:          But God,
I envy their temporary sweet spot:
 
snippet of carefree chummery.
This mum machine hard at work
before work. The:          The nothing
getting in. The nothing getting out:
 

From Silencer (Mariner Books, 2017). Copyright © 2017 by Marcus Wicker. Used with permission of Houghton Mifflin Harcourt.

From Silencer (Mariner Books, 2017). Copyright © 2017 by Marcus Wicker. Used with permission of Houghton Mifflin Harcourt.

Marcus Wicker

Marcus Wicker

Marcus Wicker is the author of Silencer (Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, 2017). He teaches at the University of Memphis.

by this poet

poem
Grant me shelter & bread.
Grant me porch ledge, mantel.
Scented candles, bed. Grant me
four walls, a 5-foot fridge & a hall.
& maybe four more walls. Yes.
Four more walls. & a desk. & 
a decent laptop, plus pleather
rolling
poem
Too late—the path to righteousness gone cold
& everywhere a forked tongue, split road
                                                                dividing line—
toward, away, toward—the divine, unraveling like anise, black
poem

I was a real cute kid. Ask anybody. My father
likes to tell a story about a modeling scout

who spotted us out midday shopping
at the Briarwood Mall. Imagine five-year-old me,

all sailor stripes & junior afro, doing a full pull-up
on the magazine kiosk: Got any Keats? No doubt

2