January 18, 2012

Bill Yarrow


I hadn’t seen her since Carter was
President. Everything about her had
turned white, even her beauty marks.
I faced her strangeness and fumbled
for the past. The time we went crabbing
on the Chesapeake. Her imitation of
Nelson Mandela. Playing lawn darts
at my Mom’s. I tried to talk, but only
whispers slithered out. She pretended
to understand what I was saying,
then said, “Wasn’t it fungible to have
run across each other?” Fungible? I
questioned. She slapped me—hard.
Then her perfume returned—with a vengeance.


What happens in heaven stays in heaven.
“That’s not true,” she said to me. “You know
it’s not true.”  Yes, the acts of paradise,
slippery like syrup, slide down the clouds
and drip onto the tops of the trees where
birds and squirrels reveal them to man.
“What color are the birds?” she asked. Pink.
The pink birds and checkerboard squirrels
reveal the sly doings of the chubby cherubs.
“What’s sly doings?” I meant “sky” doings.
Reveal the sky doings of half-pint angels.
“I love heaven, don’t you?” I’m not allowed to
tell. They will burn me at the stake if I tell.
“Like Joan of Dark?” Just like Joan of Dark.


One by one I lost my desires.
Dirty ambition left first.
Knowledge raged but then it cooled.
Riches never had the hook very deep.
Achievement uncoupled from success seemed pointless.
Friendship became recursive.
Appetite lost its urgency.
Form declined into artifice.
Love stopped feeding me so I stopped feeding it.
Insight evaporated when memory left.
Lust lingered longest.
My desires, gaily arrayed, bolted to a
lapis slab, await me in Heaven.
With any luck I’ll go to Hell.

—These three poems appeared in FOURTEEN, 2011


 Bill Yarrow is the author of WRENCH (erbacce-press, 2009), Wound Jewelry (new aesthetic, 2010), and FOURTEEN (Naked Mannekin, 2011). His poems have appeared in Poetry International, Confrontation, Istanbul Literary Review, BLIP, DIAGRAM, PANK, and many others. He is one of the poetry editors of THIS Literary Magazine and lives in Illinois.

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