Back to Issue Twenty-Five.


2018 Gregory Djanikian Scholar in Poetry


Call it aesthetics or beauty, but you privilege
a portion of her face, lets say your eyes
are accustomed to a certain side,

the way you have a specific space to lay
your body when sleeping with her—
first in your bed
and then in any other, any horizontal plane.

Some would say this isnt real symmetry,
but you know of course it is,

with you as the vertical, the folding line,
and through no intention on either side,
her face is curiously balanced

(yours in hers for all you know); imagine
a card tower as custom-built for the hold of the moon—your chest,

the satellite holding. A million instances in which youve drawn

a complicated cursive R. Every time, stop to think, starting
in the same place, say, her right eye to the curve of the bridge of her nose,
her cheekbones, and you find yourself
like a contractor building over and over the same home.

She takes her steps too, though you never think to ask
whether she begins first with the plates or the spoons,

and when you tell her, you mean it
as a working definition. Or specifically, this is why

she cannot help but be, to you. And that is only her face—
you have awakened by the mouth

of this wave, and again this wave, again,

for so long as to let the name change. What arced her
like the inside of a pitcher of water,

and makes you a cartographer you cannot know by this,
but here you are, facing

this little world with the only science
you know. So what that its easy to love
a country when your body has grown into its shell?
So what if you play favorites with this history?

You think, what if I am stuck like this? What if

I never change? So what.
Never change.

Moments are not for revision—
if they are lived honestly, they are open to one interpretation
only. They make you like a child.

Of course that’s what they make.



AUBADE ON BACHELORHOOD and never becoming the flash

2018 Gregory Djanikian Scholar in Poetry


they say that if i were able to run
at the speed of light,
(or god willing past it)

time would curl
on itself like fire after leaves.
imagine the spokes

of a wheel reversing as you watch,
a swallow glancing in your path,
and becoming a bullet fired forward on a chain

and thrown back
into his shell. to have access
to the place nostalgia goes to slink,

hard and slow,
like Samson in restraints. to see
clumps of sugar hang like organs

in the cathedral of the sugar jar,
the histrionic sun, and our fingers
braiding, then unbraiding.

in the divine verticals,
our bodies wed
other orbits of love. Forever

is for the mind and not the body.
there are many ways to die

they say. i find it difficult
to believe. for any of us,
there is only one.



6:45 p.m.

2018 Gregory Djanikian Scholar in Poetry


And the door opened in, as a sapphire
asserts a certainty of blue and you, through the hall

like an alarm, and my body determined some parcel
of space, your lips in passing,

and you reclined into the silence of the bed,
and must have always found yourself there while I was not

thinking. How surely you dreamed. And what was in your head
was a better thing than art, or rather, it was more beautiful

to wonder than to know; the absent-minded stretches
of you where I might, while sitting, hit a deer. What made you finally

stand? It’s astounding I never upset you
of your mystery. Loving is a misnomer, because you are expected

of your hearts opinion on a sentence that is never completed,
even as you’re having it. Nothing must be more free than the feeling

of the right to leave. You were really something
like a cutting the way you laid yourself in water

every night reading. But the days average on and the planets
circle round us like sharks. God its pretty.

But what does any of it mean? We pronounced ourselves
over and over and afterwards we lay almost translucent, unmoved,

except your movement, all the things about us a theory,
unburdened by the soft uncertain finish of the night.


Keith S. Wilson is an Affrilachian Poet, Cave Canem fellow, and graduate of the Callaloo Creative Writing Workshop. He has received three scholarships from Bread Loaf, as well as scholarships from MacDowell, UCross, Millay Colony, and the Vermont Studio Center, among others. Keith serves as Assistant Poetry Editor at Four Way Review and Digital Media Editor at Obsidian Journal. His work has appeared or is appearing in Poetry, the Adroit Journal, Crab Orchard Review, Little A, Narrative, 32 Poems, Rhino, Muzzle Magazine, the Blueshift Journal, and Vinyl.


Next (Brandon Anthony Melendez) >

< Previous (K-Ming Chang)