From the Middle of It

Out here on Discovery in the song light of another long day walking sheets through the blade and drawing shapes upon the bare walls of the house my children will someday return to as strangers and maybe for a moment remember the summer I worked like a madman, the land and the house so new… More

Make Believe

Tell me you are a lord of jagged stones that were pillars. Tell me I am wrong about my skin, that it is no fortress. What work of fiction can pacify you who must sleepwalk the line between what is real and what is etch-a-sketch to survive? Pretend the grass is deadly and press me… More

Little Design

after Li-Young Lee I painted my lover on a lake. Since then, the fish bathe her every morning and slide slippers on her feet every night. I painted my lover on a glacier. Since then, my gloves are always on, and all the snow has become a gallery whose exhibits are the evenings, whose plinths… More

Elegy from Chechnya with the Eyes in It

You are in Chechnya as I lick your glass As if it’s not vodka in the glass, but the eyes Of that Orthodox priest Anatoly From the war zone in Grozny The priest from your Chechen stories Whose eyes “with the quiet, pure light” Affected you so much you talked of Nothing but, speaking to… More

Self-Portrait as Sparrows and Blood

For the price of a tooth, you can buy two from the boy with no legs. One to keep, the other to let. As in ancient times, the first slit open over a bowl of fresh water, the second dipped into the blood of its twin. Water beading on the sheath of its beak. As… More

Letter to Mike Scalise

On a flight from somewhere to somewhere else, the woman next to me vomits into a bag. She’s polite about it, as if trying not to disturb. The bag fills up, she seals it in a separate Ziploc, and puts that in her purse. Then she starts the process all over. And this, Mike, reminds… More

Matthew Nienow

In an intimate conversation the 2013 Ruth Lilly Fellow reads from, and discusses the provocations behind, his powerful manuscript of poems, “House of Water.” More

You Want Me to Say It Pretty

Matthew Nienow but under the poison I was committed to I can only remember the first five minutes were so beautiful that it seems impossible how nearly I lost my own children to the woman who was willing to leave me she couldn’t hear the song I made a music I sang to the feeling… More

[In the heart of the canyon was the cause of the canyon]

Matthew Nienow In the heart of the canyon was the cause of the canyon. In the canyon of the heart was the cause of the canyon. Water traveling a gradient, my heart traveling a gradient. That the canyon walls amplified the sound was but a fact. That the fact stilled my heart was but an… More