When we get home from working long days, we know
there are longer days ahead that do not love us.
The white salt-streaks following us home in the cold
and the dull sun falling on the uneven patches of snow
feel like a sore throat. In the culverts filled with mud
and frozen gravel we saw some of our feelings
we don’t have a name for. It’s odd, you tell me, how sometimes
what we can’t say is the explanation we are looking for.
Later you will tell me how no one tipped you and someone
lifted your last three cigarettes while you changed
the coffee. I will tell you how I stopped a man
from breaking into a car at the parking garage,
but he hit me in the jaw first. Because our favorite window
doesn’t shut all the way, the radiators inside our heads
hiss when we drink too much. Soft nights in winter—
and the snow falls and fills all the holes and cracks
in our disappearing street. It almost makes it easier
to love the old barn or the rust-eaten jalopy again.
To those broken things—we show them thanks,
and we will call this night comfort; however,
at some point drinking will only point us toward
one dead end. It is inevitable that we will destroy it.
is the author of Scared Violent Like Horses (Milkweed Editions, 2019), which won the Jake Adam York Prize. His work has appeared or is forthcoming in 32 Poems, Alaska Quarterly Review, Best New Poets 2015, Copper Nickel, Pleiades, and TriQuarterly. John is the 2016 winner of The Pinch Literary Award in Poetry. He received his MFA from Southern Illinois University, Carbondale.
ART: Blue Pen Drawing 4 by Jean Wolff
JEAN WOLFF has had group and solo exhibits in various galleries in New York City, nationally and internationally. In addition, she has published 108 works in 70 issues of 47 different magazines. Born in Detroit, Michigan, she studied fine arts at the Center for Creative Studies in Detroit and at the University of Michigan in Ann Arbor, receiving a BFA in studio arts. She then attended Hunter College, CUNY in New York, graduating with an MFA in painting and printmaking. She is now part of the artistic community of Westbeth in Manhattan.