(Jochem Raat/Unsplash)


Not a Week Goes by                                                                                                 

Not a week goes by in treat-
Ment without my wondering
How I became that creep,
A kind of solo lover blundering

Through the human showroom
Desperate to experience
His life any way but alone,
His unintentional prurience

A source of shame. A glint
Of sun flashes from a window
Four floors up. We can’t
See inside from this far below.


Mother Birds

We were like mother birds
feeding other mother birds.
But perhaps the saddest story
was the society woman who
stopped believing in herself;
she never stopped thanking
me for the lantern I carried
in my eyes, then died swinging
like a censer. Despite my own
limits, my friends had me
thinking I’m a guardian angel
myself. Maybe we all are.


Four Moons

There are eleven moons, I’m told,
New moon through old,
As there were eleven suicides,
Failures all, still alive,
Walking up & down my ward.
Being a moon is hard.

Being a moon is hard,
Having to be starred
Yet making the heavens faint;
A single coat of black paint
That barely lasts the night.
A moon has an appetite.

A moon has an appetite.
Without a mooring in sight
It yearns for a familiar
Anchor on Earth, a streetcar
To ride on, a cul de sac
A woman with a moon-hat!                                                                                             

A woman with a moon-hat
At the window, I remember that.
Doctors sautéed her brain.
She became a fixture; a ribbon
Of pain shone blue in her hair.
The moon is beyond repair.


Spending Lies

But then one recovers, as do the objects
Of one’s affection. As in covering
Again. Can recovery be a bad thing?
Side effects: the blight of blasé,
A mild fever of yeah, whatever.
I guess I’m still loving everything
But having to remind myself; my mind-
Ful calm’s not sticky anymore.
The thrill isn’t gone. It’s just shopping
With coupons, putting things back.

Rex Wilder has been published in Poetry, TLS (London), the New Republic, National Review, the Nation, Harvard Review, the Yale Review, Poetry Ireland, and others, plus many anthologies, most recently Together in a Sudden Strangeness (Knopf). He has also published three full-length books with Red Hen Press and Chatwin Books. His newest work, Wilder Venice, is forthcoming this winter, featuring original photographs complemented by prose reflections.

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Published in the November 2022 issue: View Contents
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