Thursday Hoarse chimes of the clock - - Stars float in slower time All needs of the day, immediate -- The moon a pensive sliver My blood is a to-do list, circling -- Crepuscular stir and watch My bones a calendar, days creaking The cold is a single clear note Paper, then screens, these walls - - The ridge gleams amid the dark Anxious shoulder, spine’s regret - - Light and cold regard one another What is time but lines and curves - And Earth awaits her warmth What is time but a moving whip - The sun breaks, a silent promise Work, a twitch at the mouth -- A billion tiny eyes await Work for whom? Forever whom - -A million tiny bodies, wrapped against cold Where is my soul in all of this? -- They emerge, they trod, they watch the sky One meeting, five meetings, -- A dawning world of hawk and rabbit Will there be a real meeting? -- Deer tails wait to hie, among their quiet steps I know the world is wrong– -- Foxes keep silence like antique monks Then what can I do right? -- The creek is dauntless, indefatigable Let me throw one starfish -- Water cares not for freezing, for warmth nor cold Grace of graces, let me know it -- A day of walking, watching, eating, killing, giving Let me live someway here -- Always parents for their children Where they took away the paths -- Always under a glowing, constant sky.
Jackson Culpepper (he/they) grew up in Georgia and has since lived in Southern Appalachia, the mountain west, and the desert southwest. His debut short story collection, Songs on the Water, is forthcoming in August from Homebound Publications, where he won the Landmark Prize for fiction. He lives and teaches first-year English in the Denver area. You can find him on Instagram @JCCulpepper and online at jacksonculpepper.wordpress.com.