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What I want when I confess my life is unmanageable

Derek Ellis


is for alcohol to seem less appealing, less like a key

into the world I can’t see anymore, less like a dog

curled at my feet waiting for its feeding, the teeth

less menacing, my life less uninteresting, my life less

like a constant confession where the morning stars

sang together and all the angels shouted for joy.

I can no longer believe in a power greater

than myself. What happens when the earth’s seasons

pass before you without interest?

In the room where paint sings psalms, where

the television is praying and asks me to join, where

the armored doorjamb is rusting through,

I’m constructing my own echo.

I command the air: Hello, lovely and tender friend.

I pat the air as if it were a head; I open the mirror

on the wall for all my pain—here. Come and tell

of the hard path beneath your feet, the aftermath

in the after-speech, speak that graffitied language of

youth, how you didn’t want to understand. Now you do.

Derek Ellis is a writer from the small town of Owenton, Kentucky. He earned an MFA in poetry from the University of Maryland, where he also taught courses in introductory composition and creative writing. His poems have been published in “Hot Rocks,” a feature in Five Points: A Journal of Literature and Art, Prairie Schooner, and The Ninth Zine. He currently resides on a rural farm in Kentucky, where he thinks on clouds and endings.

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