It’s just that everything beats louder in the bright dead of morning: the heart
and skyline in bloom over the cul-de-sac and horseshoes,
nails scattered then bled to rust in a field
of cuspidate blue and brown glass, discarded deadbolts and burst tires,
worn out rugs drying in the heat of day.
I’ve never been surefooted enough to dance with the end of all things
though there are songs that involve offering up more
of your intelligence and dream dust than you ever thought possible,
that demand an arpeggio of far-reaching notes to bring the sleeping crowd to its feet.
It is a good day to watch the daylight shock the hillside into honey.
It is a good day to increase your likeness to the owl’s
burning moon eyes and screech ringing want want want.
I was facing reckless sleep. I was watching the Book of Job played out in the faces
of my immigrant students and in the lives of stateless TV children crumbling in the airport terminals.
Parts of human heart chambers can be found mured up in white walls
scarred with fixed silhouettes from the first nuclear blast
that shadowed and spoiled the skin beneath women’s
black polka dotted dresses– didn’t you hear? Haven’t you heard?
The pines are lit up like dragons this evening. I said,
everything is falling out of place and I cannot teach a language of order.
ALYSSA JEWELL is an assistant editor for New Issues Poetry and Prose and coordinates the Poets in Print Reading Series for the Kalamazoo Book Arts Center. Her poetry has appeared or is forthcoming in Best New Poets, Colorado Review, Hayden’s Ferry Review, Lake Effect, North American Review, Quarterly West, and Sugar House Review, among other publications. She lives and teaches in Grand Rapids, Michigan.