The Misanthropist

Not that he minded coming in out of the rain, shaking water from his boots in the mud room, placing them side by side with the other pairs of slick rubbers, umbrellas left open, set like enormous flower petals upon an oriental rug dirty with its own versions of flowers. Nor did he mind the…

Add Phthalo Blue

To the lean trees, leafless, the sky awash in spirits, to rain-streaked, grayed-out wetlands. To aging winter’s illness—a cold-boned birch once silvered     by the moon. Phthalo blue—bright, crystalline—stumbled upon by a chemist troubled by contamination. Its light-fastness, tinting strength, its resemblance     to the blue powder childhood. Judith Skillman’s most recent book…

Insomnia’s Lunatic

A full moon on patio stones, and illness flourishes. Three a.m. Sleeplessness peaks, and illness flourishes. In not dreaming a kind of wonder, in the sore throat, the lack of tonsils, to hack all day, all night—an illness flourishes. Who is not rapt, who uneasy, captive on a mattress. Trolling spindles while in her head…

Twinned

This morning, this evening—all twilight— the pinks, grays, amorphous twilights merged by hers and hers, both bright and newly minted, clouds of twilight hovering in rooms after days of heat. If it hums—the fridge, the fan—still twilight falls earlier in increments. Here the height of summer becomes a gauge. Age comes sleight of hand, preoccupied…

Nightmare Ghazal

Is this the morning, then, when you wake full of nightmare to a song you don’t understand? Has there been another war, the tide coming in full of cars and bodies, man-made, mere fodder for the dollar mill, that needs its share of nightmare? What brought these organs in its teeth? How many split hairs…

This Rotten Carcass of a Boat

No see um’s dance in shafts of light. He flicks middle finger against thumb, plays a gigue against gouged wood, beats the conveyance that brought him here. His sight dwindling in one eye, pain of nerves, and no absinthe to dilute a life lived for the sake of mastering girl and slave. He feels sand…