The wasp buzzing, darting.
Your palm covers the sugared glass.
Imagine swallowing such
A canyon of tribulation in which
A flash flood devises its path
Until you are an inversion
Within an inversion, incapable
Of breath, an avalanche
Blocking the swallow’s
Mechanism. This imagination
Is groundless. The wasp
Doodles the garbage can’s
Cockeyed lid. How is it
That every occasion becomes
An occasion of sin or temptation
To envision the worst.
Or the sin of omission
Failing to avert
What you knew or should have known
-- as a legal document infers--
For example leaving a pitcher
Of sweetness on the patio
To lure imposter ladybugs.
Their small orange boats overturned.
They smell of rust or disappointment.
The wasp returns
To an investigation of your surplus.
A fearsome saxophone. A jittery
Eighth note, restless and persistent.
The old country church converted
To a residence. To live in holiness,
That’s the ticket. In the churchyard, tombstones
Sit up like children in their beds
Demanding a story. Amethysts and anthracite,
The deep earth where dwarves labor
To extract luster and fire.
Cypher of dreams, the green evidence,
How lust inspires the zodiac.
Pick-up sticks and jack of hearts,
Games of dexterity and chance.
Step on a cricket and a horse
Just short of the finish line
Falls dead. On the screen, a man
Says Mars will be habitable
It merely takes warming
The way hypothermia
Can be treated Flesh to flesh.
Joan Colby has published widely in journals such as Poetry, Atlanta Review, South Dakota Review, etc. Awards include two Illinois Arts Council Literary Awards, an Illinois Arts Council Fellowship in Literature. She has published 16 books including "Selected Poems" from FutureCycle Press which received the 2013 FutureCycle Prize and “Ribcage” from Glass Lyre Press which has been awarded the 2015 Kithara Book Prize. Colby is also an associate editor of Kentucky Review and FutureCycle Press.