Jan/Feb 2016 Poetry Special Feature

Reasons to Wake up Long before Morning, Homesick

by Michael Woods

Artwork by Karen Fox Tarlton

Artwork by Karen Fox Tarlton

Reasons to Wake up Long before Morning, Homesick

If a fire is brewing at the foot of your river bed

if the buildings start resembling mountains
and the lightning poles become Christmas trees
on construction sites

if we recognize nothing we build can be complete

if anniversary means red-eye flights and video call static

if your hands swallow the blanket and reveal
the gaps in the curtains

if the maps we studied bleed through the jagged
lilting skyline and all the lines crack
into our skulls, caress our elbows in the streetlight

If the morning answers? If the neighbors don't?

if we forget the polished opal we squirrel away in pockets
shames the stars and Venus, even some nights
the Moon

if hunger reminds us we still have a quarter-tank
and eleven dollars of change in the floorboards

if the ignition wakes only the raccoon in the sewer

if bridges become breadcrumbs

if the flames melt your gas pedal

if you take nothing with you


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