the milk thief

Joe Milazzo

the gleam i can’t
fence in i attract
with sidle and pail
pacifying that spotted
dog testing the rod
that straps his leash
6 days of undoing
for the sake of 1 day
to scratch fattening
                                                                 never necessities ripe
                                                                 for the gathering
from the fiery floor
of a dingy pot
panic my only
mate my mouth always
drenched zealous
for a spurt to overtake
the nettles
trespassing on my hay
how i pine for some
fertile salving to plaster
some favor to transpire
in the happening
                                                                 parlor light sputtering
                                                                 in the sun searchless
                                                                 beneath the moon
the belfry isn’t breached
the barn not burning
smoke won’t gulp
until the tapers
have been snuffed
bottle or teat
                                                                 docile or stricken
tutor my foolhardy
throat temper my brass
freeze my bombardments
in their tracks
JOE MILAZZO is the author of the novel Crepuscule W/ Nellie, two volumes of poetry — The Habiliments and Of All Places In This Place Of All Places — and several chapbooks (most recently, @p_roblem_s). His writings have appeared in Black Clock, Black Warrior Review, BOMB, Prelude, Tammy, Texas Review and elsewhere. He is an Associate Editor for Southwest Review and the Founder/Editor-In-Chief of Surveyor Books. Joe lives and works in Dallas, TX, and his virtual location is