after James Merrill
Dream the dream called dirty
laundry & dress me
as you like: knee-high
stockings of a call girl, feathered hair
of an Indian boy pulling
arrows, his bow strung.
Remember: point to shoot.
Tonight, I pull your body
taut from the quiver, watch it fall
apart in lost fletchings. Lilacs
sprout from the small of a statue’s
back as it bends away from us,
grasping for the hand of a friend
whose body, once handsomely
defined, has worn smooth & round
as a cat’s eye. The air around us
condenses into locusts: a whole
life spent digging for eggplants
& daikon to make a stew.
I should’ve mined the vegetables
from my body, realized
I have a turnip for a tongue.
Tory Adkisson’s poems have appeared or are forthcoming in Third Coast, Colorado Review, Barrow Street, Quarterly West, Boston Review, 32 Poems, Best New Poets 2012, and elsewhere. A graduate of the MFA program at The Ohio State University, he currently lives and writes in the San Francisco Bay Area where he is at work on his first collection of poems.