What I want when I confess my life is unmanageable
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.