Little darkling,
the Methodist church bell rings through the town
gone still, shut down at ten. Every child slumbers
against the promise of a yellow bus that will take
them too soon. The gas station lights threaten
toward us from the highway.
Little dumb show,
the thrumming hedge releases bats into the air,
a smokestack, a nightshift of flapping when all
other workers sleep. The shift whistle's lost
to the ear like the ragged edge of the bell
that drifts away on the breeze.
Little nothing,
all the water on the bay lays down for us to cross,
smooth as a cake stand, we skate small words
that no one can read. The half-moon, cut
glass of spectacles, laid on the nightstand
when the lamp is turned out.

Jory M. Mickelson's work has appeared or is forthcoming in The Adirondack Reviw, PoetsArtists, PANK Magazine, New Mexico Poetry Review, and Assaracus and other journals. He is the recipient of the 2011 Academy of American Poet's Prize for the University of Idaho and maintains the blog Literary Magpie (

Boxcar Poetry Review - ISSN 1931-1761