Joshua Wilkerson

clepsydra, my library

midnight canon of holes  
nodding off   boxed up

mine in vegetal neural 
cardboard         neighborhoods offline 

dredging toast in the sheets
from this spine, stuttering

parroting, pair of
moth balls          
cipher the inner
shorthand shelf life  

ceiling stain  who 
spilled the coffee on   raising  

the veil of                spilled
parmenides in the same font

dog-eared para- inner 
paratactic, gray

for the total of              spilled
subpar on my lip rot 
sticky pauper, still  
spilling paper

over my rim

joshua tree
for joshua w.

you’re the best patterned of a blown-out species
a secondhand clap-on onionskin
a costume no one gets so you go on coughing

opposite of a beer burp forgotten in the stacks
somewhere between cactus and
spasm your sexual or whatever dust enigma

all pleonasm     no synonym
you can’t be abridged
without semantic reflux

half-beast you shudder
naked against that salmon plane, proud unaware
on the mesa, ecumenical
& coy                 earl of smegma

mean of the flat earth resounding
with sad drum solos, fills
for your absent daughters, really
a nothing place                           magical as hell
wind blowing through a hole in your face

Joshua Wilkerson is an MFA candidate at CUNY Brooklyn College, where he edits poetry and visual art for the Brooklyn Review. He is also a founding editor of the Five Star Review.
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