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Joshua Marie Wilkinson

Phantoms, Uncollected

easier without
the machete

in the tobacco
with dogs

keeping the kettle
safe. Worm

paths leak
what we haven’t

ourselves found
a way to hide.

Our work is
fearless, staunch

even cinematic,
though the

laughter marks
us with its

powdery gloves.

Phantoms, Uncertain

forbidding, not
swept into

the fan gears
rats tarrying

pulling the blankets

the basement

gobs of pink
fiberglass, won’t

you listen, like
this, with your

eyes on the page,
dream up the

coal pigeons,
badgers on

the asphalt,
a city returning

itself via letter
to its own

post office
chutes & scales.

Poem for ZBS

We’re in the mall lot
as you’re telling me
the story of being back in
Omaha, even if only to
wave from the night road

to deer & mammoths
lifting up from the stage
beams & long ropes
nearly alive with a bit
of pond gleam in the retina

as your monsters slip from
cartoon to mongrel & listen
to your blood in the morning.

What do we know about love
or rotting off? We got splitting
& the lush pull of an other down
to the point of frothed madness—

Out on your porch or up
in the supermarket checkout line,
a friend of a friend’s phantom likeness
to keep your longing checked,
crossed, or maybe just trenched in?

What else have we got to cower from
the pursuit of? Shadows plus
a socketed dream of what come over us.

Joshua Marie Wilkinson lives in Tuscon, AZ.