Wednesday, October 7, 2020

Falling as We Go by Mike James

    “uneasy at last”

        -John Berryman 


You go swimming with a smooth stone on your back. Heavy, but fits well. 

Maybe call the stone, wants. Better yet, at your midpoint, call it, years.  

What do you give up in middle-age? Desire? No. It lingers and won’t leave. 

It is a stain that stays. Or a knife kept loose in a sheath. An uncertain blade. 

We take smaller steps as we age. Pretend that’s a dance. In a way it is. 

Two steps forward. One step back. That’s a shuffle habit makes. 


Curse the night. It doesn’t change. The moon’s half-dollar remains unspent. 

The dark gives cheap cover for want. Ask Old Man Lot. It was always like this. 


Your hands tell what’s real. True when young and now. Gravity no longer a friend. 

If you fall, you find what’s near. Sometimes you call out. Sometimes you keep still. 




Mike James makes his home outside Nashville, Tennessee and has published widely. His many poetry collections include: Red Dirt Souvenir Shop (Analog Submissions), Journeyman’s Suitcase (Luchador), Parades (Alien Buddha), Jumping Drawbridges in Technicolor (Blue Horse), First-Hand Accounts from Made-Up Places (Stubborn Mule), Crows in the Jukebox (Bottom Dog), My Favorite Houseguest (FutureCycle), and Peddler’s Blues (Main Street Rag.) He served as an associate editor of The Kentucky Review and currently serves as an associate editor of Unbroken. 




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