April 17, 2013
Self Dialogue: Camping at Yellowwood State Park

Driving east on forty-five

Red & white pines / resemble neat rows

Of nooses / hung from navy sky / knotting

All / the oxygen surrounding your frame.

Can even one of ten friends see / you struggle

For space inside / a gutted speck of forest?

Does anyone notice / the way trees shrink

Breath inside / your tiny throat?

Someone sees / makes a joke about death

That lashes your spine / with cold / pimpled fear.

Nightfall chatters in space / between lips

& your stomach / is stuffed with white teeth.

The next morning smells of quelled fire.

The next morning sings deliverance.


—Marcus Wicker (Vanderburgh County)

This poem was published in Maybe the Saddest Thing (Harper Perennial, 2012).

Marcus Wicker is the author of Maybe the Saddest Thing (Harper Perennial), selected by DA Powell for the National Poetry Series. He holds an MFA in Creative Writing from Indiana University. Wicker’s awards include a 2011 Ruth Lilly Fellowship, as well as fellowships from Cave Canem and The Fine Arts Work Center. A 2012 Image Award Nominee, Wicker’s work has appeared or is forthcoming in Poetry, American Poetry Review, Third Coast, and Ninth Letter, among other magazines. Wicker is assistant professor of English at University of Southern Indiana and poetry editor of Southern Indiana Review.

Indiana Humanities is posting a poem a day from Indiana poets in celebration of National Poetry Month.

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