Vox Populi

A Public Sphere for Poetry, Politics, and Nature

Billy Clem: About 40

This junk I’ve carried forty years

On good days pees a single stream,

But mostly just sticks to my thighs

White as unseen fishes’ bellies.

It’s all here for little more than

Cough. Again. Right. Get dressed.

Who knew sacred fruit, inheritance,

Could go squishy, rot so fast?

Seems it all simply fell one day,

Littering my world as a series

Of one-offs, longed for, ephemeral,

Tired as any autumnal awakening.


But if I could have felt cramps

And life’s need stuck on thighs

Hardy as tree trunks, later columns

Framing the grandest temple,

And a crowning, heal-pricked cries,

And the vernix we all want to palm

After the hardest work known

To any mammal living a summer.

And the cradling of a moon,

A song that blooms and orbits.

The pleasure of a whole world

Spinning, spinning away by itself.


Copyright 2017 Billy Clem


Billy Clem teaches Composition, Multiculturalism and Women’s and Gender Studies outside Chicago.

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This entry was posted on March 26, 2017 by in Opinion Leaders, Poetry and tagged , .

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