Winter 2017 - Poetry

  

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

  

John Andrews

Slow Testament

                         June, 26th 2015

How cliché to say Cicada
song and mean White River

where summer air breathes
like roux, every note echoes off

Jon boats. I want to say your name
like it’s mine, familiar and bitter
as chicory, no toothbrush can
brush out, carry the taste like
secret in my mouth all day. 

Say honey and mean vertebrae
gilded in sunshine and scalloped

like a tissue paper paged book
meant for finding where I left
off quick, when the song kicks 

back in after the silence that being
watched brings. We’ve lived
too long among roots to not
sing the hymn of surviving
the work of breaking 

out of your own flesh.

 

**

Wolf

 

says he can blow if you host
            alone. You know the curtains
            need airing out anyway, dust hugs
            itself in every crack of crown

            molding. How stagnant still life gets
            caught between days you poured
            boiling water down the drain
            dislodging another wasted piece, 

            bread or hair or browned onion
            bit no one would want to find
            between chicken and something
            unknown in this week’s casserole. 

says a pig like you deserves to get
            muddy. How sterile and crisp
            the floor and bed have been
            since marriage, everything 

            always in its place, each body
            in its chalk outline, each crease
            folded into final rights, a bleached
            brilliant porcelain white shroud. 

            All you want to do is rip
            blinds from the sockets, open
            every shutter, closet and cabinet
            door, shatter every inch of glass,

say it’s easier to rebuild than wait.

 

                          

 

**

John Andrews’ first book, Colin Is Changing His Name, was a finalist for the 2015 Moon City Poetry Prize and is forthcoming from Sibling Rivalry Press in 2017. His work has appeared in Redivider, The Queer South: LGBTQ Writers on the American South, Columbia Poetry Review, Burnt District, and others. He holds an MFA from Texas State University where he served as managing editor for Front Porch Journal. Currently, he is PhD student at Oklahoma State University and an associate editor for the Cimarron Review.

 

 

  © Ninth Letter, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign.