Now I the rower gentle on the water. Now I the water gentle
in refraction. If this the moon, I befuddled by its light
touch on owls, on feathers, on one bare branch settling
the rower toward stasis. If I drown, it will be in my genitals,
that dreary drooping flesh I detested—it put you in hospital
and daughter arrived to this sick, sad world. I was blighted
in my skull’s noxious water. I rowed in circles gently
so as not to incur reflection. The moon insisted on light.
Reflection owes the moon no debt. Its light not insistent,
noxious, nor gentle—sometimes a circle, traces of water
located where I—unharnessed, floating, breathless—
would see not—nor owe—reflection. Its light insists
to those outside its body—there’s not lying one place
that’s an earthling skull or a genital—strange creatures
believe the moon owes their species’ reflection, insist
they are gentle—they trace a circle, make an X—water.
Joseph P. Wood is the author of two full collections of poetry--Fold of the Map (Salmon 2012) and I & We (CW Books 2010)--and five chapbooks. New poems can or will be found in Boston Review, Bateau, DIAGRAM, Hotel Amerika, horseless review, and Handsome,among others. He teaches at The University of Alabama and is one of six members running The Slash Pine Projects, an undergraduate internship focusing on community arts and micropublishing. His website is www.josephpatrickwood.com.