by Zackary Medlin
An Incomprehensive List
I am reading you in bed,
my flashlight under the sheets,
hiding from the storm I have been
made to make. It gets so confusing
when the lights go out. I go
out for a smoke, standing stock
-still on the porch waiting
to see the world flash the way
lightning must see it: frozen & pure,
lineated by the /’s rain writes.
I’m never quite sure how to read
that particular punctuation.
Does it delineate or unite? You’re the night
-mare where I can’t sleep, because you
are dragging the arms of gnarled trees
against the glass & it’s upsetting
because I’ve watched Poltergeist recently.
I’m drawing you out of white noise
on the tv, connecting the dots.
You sound surprisingly like
that scrambled cable station
we almost get but my folks won’t pay to see.
Did I mention it’s 1993? It is.
& you’re four in the morning,
which I’m pretty sure is the only time
that exists in the middle of the night.
You are my body changing in places
in terrible places, like in front of Ms. Bevil’s
Algebra class. I am a strange equation.
I am i. You are the wind picking up
outside. I am a broken heirloom
pocket-watch I bought from a pawn shop.
The second I strike 4:01 I will run outside
in the wet grass to catch the next lightning
in my teeth. You are wild electricity
& I’ll bite your trapezius. I am Boy Scout
training, counting the seconds between
your flash & clap. You are the minute
hand held on twelve, I am broken
clockwork, counting one-one-thousand,
one-one-thousand, one-one-thousand, one-
A Bed Too Much a Barren
And god burnt the last tree
standing on the land.
Petals seeped from each crack
in its husk until its husk fell away
a: (like a serpent’s skin)
b: (to sleep).
Inside, a galaxy formed from asters
crying away their corollas’ rays,
until each iris fell away to nothing
but pupil, a black hole. What’s left
a: (after the shedding)
b: (to sleep)
will begin to regrow, leaves
upon which certain moths feed
will unfurl. Cocooned,
I will finally be able to
a: (slough loose this husk)
Zackary Medlin is a doctoral student at the University of Utah. He is a recipient of a 2013 AWP Intro Journal Award and holds an MFA from the University of Alaska Fairbanks. His poems have recently appeared or are forthcoming in The Pinch, Grist, and The Colorado Review.