In a Waiting Room

1. Here I am—the annual physical, these days euphemized as a “well-check,” a ruse of language I like in some happy way, much better than “get on board” for “obey.” Still, in settings like this one, I confess I sometimes find myself thinking of Larkin, almost wanting to make conversation with the Larkin-id I try… More

His Previous Life as a Lichen

He did not go far, and the journey was long. It seemed his quest was to enact the shadow of a distant ridge, until it was the distant ridge that became somehow the shadow of him. This freed him to swaddle an entire stone, to be a cloak, to gown the gray granite of a… More

Lamaze

The instructor said to loosen my knees, to wallow in my pain, to low, even. My head and forearms on her counter, I was shaking it slow for my wife watching with the rest. I felt exactly like a man trying to act like a woman to be thought of as the kind of man… More

I must be honest with myself: sometime

in the future will be violence, sometime a gun will appear in a public place and bodies will fall, for here, where my daughter four days old on my chest sleeps, her fontanel against my chin, is America. I’ve known it all along. Sometime bullets will rip through sheetrock, and someone’s neighbor will enter a… More

Enough Muscular Grace

1. How strangely satisfied I am constructing containment as I assemble my child’s crib. Side-rail A’s tongue judders into the headboard’s groove, and a bolt spins in. Torquing the Allen wrench, I’m godlike: it disappears in my squeeze, burrows another bolt. But step two requires translation. Language—another of so many cribs, the human tongue honed… More

Frozen Fawn

Robert Wrigley Funny, by which I mean mysterious or eerie, the way I just happened to look out the western window of my shack at exactly that moment the morning sun— via the same opening in the heavy brush I glanced through—made the carcass shine unmistakably in the shape of what it was. Still, I… More

Proust

Robert Wrigley By the light of my reading lamp, she regards me, or regards the shape of me where I sit, the shadow I am, she being mostly blind. She’s lying on the couch, and it may be she is uncertain I am even here, for she was asleep when I entered the room and… More

A Plague of Cottonwoods

Laura Powers June, and they stand in flowering frustration at either end of my yard. Cottonwoods (geneus populus) are gendered and must be planted accordingly to avoid the outrage of unspent catkins (desiderium). I learned this too late to now keep seedpods sticking to the laundered sheets I’ve strung to dry between them like a… More

The Language of a Marriage

Laura Powers In my lap, The Awakening rests like a pretension. Lately, I’ve found myself going in envy of fiction—not as a poet, but as a woman living a linear life, as she must with no parrot screaming foreshadow in its raucous patois: Allez vous-en! Get Out! Sapristi! Goddamn it! No one is in danger… More

Bare Tree

Robert Wrigley You, most admirable aspen tree: I admire the way a wound sine bull elk grinding his develveting horns on your trunk has healed to a pale gray that accentuates your beauty now, a decade later on. And as today’s autumn storm undresses you leaf by delicate gold leaf, I watch until you stand… More