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.
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.