In the middle of December,
something rings

in the corn, the bull’s eye
of campus, in a blue light

that is three-quarters
at best,

tracks me like a sister
into a world of developing

bells. Husks
pull closed over dying meat.

A dusky tongue gongs
the lips of liberty

and Andromeda is pushed
to the sky’s orange rim.

The barntops hide
from the roofs of libraries

and labs, inhabit this season
with humble angles

acute against the night
and the things that sleep

in it. In St. Joseph,
a television is turned off,

a bed goes dark.
In Mahomet, a woman checks

to see if a window is closed
because how can this house

be so drafty? Her feet drag
slowly across the carpet

gathering enough electricity
to fill a glass with warm water

from the tap, the faucet
closing like a curtain

in a hospital where
so many babies, just today

were born. Somewhere—
Tuscola, maybe—we all

reach an age when we stop
crying over trivial things

and words, where blessings
fall to asphalt and melt.

Under the cornfield,
the Boneyard Creek

hatches its fish in secret,
waiting for the philanthropist

moon to lift
its water up.

The Morrow Plots Cover


Preparing the Ghost: An Essay Concerning the Giant Squid and Its First Photographer (W.W. Norton: Liveright), Pot Farm, and Barolo (both from the University of Nebraska Press), the poetry books, Warranty in Zulu (Barrow Street Press), The Morrow Plots, and Sagittarius Agitprop (both from Black Lawrence Press), and the chapbooks, Four Hours to Mpumalanga and Aardvark. Recent and forthcoming work appears in The New Republic, Field, Epoch, AGNI, The Iowa Review, Gulf Coast, The Kenyon Review, Seneca Review, Crazyhorse, The Normal School, DIAGRAM, Indiana Review, North American Review, Pleiades, Black Warrior Review, Quarterly West, Crab Orchard Review, The Best Food Writing, The Best Travel Writing, Creative Nonfiction, Prairie Schooner, Hotel Amerika, Gastronomica, and others. After spending over 17 years of his occupational life in restaurant kitchens—from fast-food chicken shacks to fine-dining temples of gastronomy—he now teaches creative writing in the MFA Program at Northern Michigan University, where he is the Nonfiction Editor of the literary journal, Passages North. This winter, he prepared his first batch of whitefish liver ice cream. It paired well with onion bagels.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *