O Amy you are the black gate at a wormhole’s entrance you are yelling

At Einstein to stop confusing everyone & he just pulls big white tufts of hair

That once yanked smell of cotton candy & Ferris wheels though like Jesus &

The fishes now carnies multiply & mutilate random cicadas & you grab my hand

Below the cosmos to a red atmosphere not blood-colored so much blood-thick

With phone wires so thin you’d think hamsters have acquired their own language

And thread & empty soup cans & bible scrolls of complaints how excruciating that water

Bottle always clogged never hinged right on the cage you say I can help your problems

And you take each animal out of the cage, roll them in your palm like Play-do, viola

A plush dinosaur with wings, a newly-minted preschool, some very lonely children

O Amy you are the many children struck paler than an ash tree back dropped

Against a wailing wall composed of seagulls still wailing the waves receding

In the late morning where Frisbees would fly if the entire beach weren’t a sea

Lion mating resort though this batch of blubbers can’t keep their erections

For weeks on end & Amy, I am just a mole upon your otherwise flawless shoulder

Save the fact you insist on hoisting the fat-flippered & flip them toward mates

so bored with this act & to finish you throw arms in the air beach balls fly

From the horizon line & now return those pale children floaties on their arms

You say we shall feed the lions & the children fresh lime jello & they will breath

Sunshine unlocked behind a gate where black has disappeared into its vast self

O Amy you are disappearing into a vast black only to teach me the sounds

Of the cosmos when I look up past the nuclear flower patterns missile strikes

Make a singed blue & yet seems so restful & you cup your hand into mine

Through the stratosphere of cloud & rain only to find the floor of another

Stratosphere of cloud & rain you say this was the astronaut’s suffering

Before their engines backfired & they joined the little exhaust puffs

Of light God makes to pass the time until every cuckoo clock on every planet

Stops & beheads its little bird & I say that doesn’t seem very nice capricious

On what goes & what stays God’s just an enormous Alzheimer’s patient

you say I got it wrong you say by our house’s gate is where I’ll find His head

O Amy you are a sherbet-colored head flaring beneath many less ice

Creams the angels can’t lick quick enough so the winged imps pout & pout

Until someone emerges from the darkest corner of heaven unbuckling

His belt asking anyone here have a problem like he was brandishing a pistol

Made of fire distilled into an army of quarks strapped with nuclear bombs

And you were the one who stood in front of God like a gate told him step

Back brother fucker you are one second from a lynching on earth’s last elm

Shame on you leaving the neurotic retina-burning circles of people’s lives

Strapped to a streamer thick as chain only hotter when the sun comes

Barging its way how do you like that Lord you say wildly waving a poker

O Amy you are the Lord & the poker you share in the afterlife & I

The cells of the earth sloughing like insect cuticles & your job is

To find a thousand parts of me & make me a man before the Lord

Burns down my last two plum trees in the house which is not a house

Since the mirrors were emptied of your face & the blankets no longer smell

Like your feet like the sea like sail boats parting a hundred horizon points

In a hundred places on earth & you are not Earth you are not cancer

Working its way down to the victim’s spine in a last ditch effort for him

To find his soul you only can open his ribs like a gate to his blackening

Heart & take your conflagration of purple party streamers & sing unto Him

apocryphaltext Vol. 4

Joseph P. Wood is the author of the forthcoming books I & We (CW Books) and Fold of the Map (Salmon Poetry) and five chapbooks. Newish poems can be found in BOMB, Boston Review, Hotel Review, Hunger Mountain, Verse, among others. He is the director of the Slash Pine Poetry Festival and Slash Pine Writer Hikes, located in Tuscaloosa, AL.



four poems by joseph p. wood