by Jake Sheff


Naked in the moonlit wood, the cold night,

After running down a dirt road at noon

From summer’s two black dogs,

I’m out of breath, but into the chill

I exhale a black dog

That evaporates in all directions.


The ground is covered with leaves that may hide

A woman, but under their skin are

More leaves. In a previous life

I wore linen, a mustache and pomade; I no longer

Believe memory. There’s a half-filled ledger

In my horse’s stomach. It starts at the end, but I refuse

To retrieve it. My drunken neighbor learned

It won’t finish if you do.


I know that I have to go, but sleep

Is the only exit. Through its heavy, black lid

The moon gazes; the blinking stars are

Yawning. I lay myself down

On all fours and become

What I was: flesh where flesh is metal,

And night is the consummate blacksmith.


The distant silo I reached, climbed

Its rusty ladder to dive into its pile of corn –

My body still floats in its musty air, suspended

Forever on a lattice of dust motes.

Copyright © 2016, Otis Nebula Press. All rights reserved.