More or less depressed by mutsu apples
and winesap in shrink wrap,
waking up with hair longer than mine
spooled and languid on the duvet,
the barley threshed, the tree burls
burgeoning, autumn’s shameless kiss of vanity
and its slow disintegration.
Things that were still are.
Things that are continue to be.
Yet I know all too well how the end ends,
like a honeycomb crackling
with something more than mockery
at the great white sting-proof suit.
It comes expectantly, too punctual,
but prettier than ever. Turnstiles
bladed with cold, municipal steps
with a touch so plain, so stale it kills.
All the haunts of you, my impeccable mess,
are the embrasures of the windows
of the blissfully dead. Once you were
bigger and brighter and wider than the snow.
Now you make me feel like I’m living
at the edge of the world, hopelessly adrift
in the eyes of the ghost again. My God,
this is pathetic. It must be a love song.
James Kelly Quigley’s poetry has received Pushcart Prize and Best New Poets nominations. Recent work has been published or is forthcoming in Harpur Palate, THE BOILER, Narrative, Nashville Review, SLICE, The American Journal of Poetry, THRUSH, and other places. He received both a BA and an MFA from New York University, where he taught undergraduate creative writing and was an editor of Washington Square Review. James was born and raised in New York, where he lives and works as a freelance writer. See more of his work at jameskellyquigley.com.