Sunday 18 June 2023

Three Poems by Mikal Wix


A Farewell from the Sloth of Space


Speed is a black tongue among mouths,

unfurling in hush, like a mutation of thrushes.

We molt from gaunt to dazzling plume —

just the cavity of flat, interstellar seas

to bear us up               like a dead march,

and a crown of calculus to weave the way.

We need what thrives from heat to atone

for what badlands we leave behind.


We flee the vast heat, mega typhoons, sacrifices

to volcanoes, undead firestorms, and the superliners

rich in triggermen piled high in rations and disdain.

Shrug the pull of our greedy, blue gravity well,

of hot dark matter departed, we rise and erupt

in tritium rage             to duck another sermon

of banned books burned, another Brownshirt cabal,

another Sunday morning blitz gifting us ashes to eat

from the nirvana of earthly life now in the kiln.


In our lightship, we see the colours of machines gallop

ahead to paint the void trailing our newfound freedom,

like the artful wren weaving a hidden nest of starlight

right under the eagle’s wing — a deepness of fable

to hoist us up high above the blues in the serpent spume.

Our keel feels closer to splitting open            a monster

in our honeyed path cracking wide before us,

the wilderness of our winking stretch across the cold

vacuum                       words let go of orbit:

spheres, shelter, lush               falling away.


But we won’t get anywhere fast enough to know

the time lost or gained by this place of truce —

the sublime jest across the darkest moss.

Instead, we drink only the disquiet of eyes

from other passersby, tied down, reclined,

our Heavenly Observer Corps,

like ecstatic dolls bedded in the antiquity of flesh

and the pure frenzy of stillness in motion,

of human commotion in space, in the space

between the in-between spell.


We open words to one another, like cherries in a jar

of exquisite intervals, and then we sing sour praise

to salute the barren weight of perpetuity.

The Old Man in the Sky


He is all I see come noon.

            The yellow shroud, the red still to make.

                        At night, his winking, snow-white pricks nuzzle.

My eyes worry to hold his charity so dwarfed overnight

            and not swollen full of future giants,

                        a ritual of feeling slighted by his bounty,

because he wants nothing new

            beyond more gleaming bodies

                        to spiral him in spirited favour.

I am just vapours in his expanse of golden-glow days,

            trying to break time free from the dark cloud-horses,

                        to stretch out like an ocean pier beneath him,

                                    speed limit gone; shoes tossed.

Because he conquers my desolation more than any horn,

            or dead soldier, or wish can hold in noise,

                        or all the hollows of fury in deep space,

                                    blinding me to his bubble of gravity.

I must orbit him in a slow burn, and my turns around him

            deepen into vast geometries of surrender.

By closing my eyelids,

            his long fingers draw out heat

                        in the headlong race to be with him,

            his eye sucks in volumes of my words

                        flowing through flaring, bloodshot rings,

            all obscurity, every confession, foreseen.

I am never again astonished,

            except to watch his sculpted arms and legs

                        cocoon me in hot, telescopic wickedness.

His righteous, fiery sins don’t leave me high

                        and gasping for doubt,

                                    or dry and grasping for hope.

He marks me his,

            my pink flamboyance of skins,

                        enough to build a tomb

                                    of colour for his light to hold

                        nothing but lustrous hydrogen lost

                                    and exotic helium found.

Like the sun dancers worshipping him

            with sage wreaths and whistles,

                        and their pale-painted crusts of skin shed,

                                    he covets the cold-blooded sunset boys

                        who jump naked from warm tongues of rock

            into bright pools below to bathe in his ecstasy

and in verbs once thought to mourn his cyclic decay.



In the dead shell center of an old elm sorrow

Tree sheared, hollow charred by a bolt of zeal

Stands the owl with her pink salmon king

Being deftly returned to primal fashion by talon

And beak spilling riddle scales, his crown:

A hemorrhage of witness fish testimony.


In the court of conjuring artistry by cuts,

The owl is well-known for her divination,

An ancient pattern of foreseeing through prey

By dancing entranced the blood-jewelled stains

To foster the owlets in journeys ahead.

She unwinds drifts down to judge the river again,


Its snowy bank of thorns, leaving pits behind

As she stamps along the watery edge, piercing

At flickers to feed the plot, to open a shambles

As the proper name of hunger slips over the tip

Of her tongue away under the surface of swift

Bronze waves auguring to see the signs


In the night: elsewhere in her passage through

The tree wings, a tracing mist trails, drawing her

Back to the nest, where the back spatter remains

Stigmata to be read, or heard, or cast off in swings

Until she knows the crime to be forgiven,

Whether stabbing, beating, or passive pools,


The king’s blood still stands to rule the parliament

Of prescient owls wherein mandibles clack,

Until she rests on a perch to hoot just once:

Her decree as psychopomp to follow the king

Into the place where being feared or revered

Comes with no cost but the lustration of shame.

Mikal Wix is a queer writer from Miami with degrees in literature and creative writing serving as an Associate Poetry Editor with West Trade Review. Their poems are found or forthcoming in the North American Review, Berkeley Poetry Review, Tahoma Literary Review, Moss Puppy, Olit, Door = Jar, Gone Lawn, and elsewhere. Other creative work, including book reviews, can be found here:


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