Born in the Adirondacks, Justin Boening is the author of Self-Portrait as Missing Person. His poems have appeared or are forthcoming in a number of journals, such as The Atlas Review, Boston Review, Colorado Review, Hotel Amerika, and Sixth Finch, among others. He is currently finishing his first full-length collection with support from Bucknell University, where he is the Roth Resident at the Stadler Center for Poetry.
The wind is having its way with the house tonight,
with the windows.
It’s finally possible
to undress myself like a Corinthian.
I remove the crickets from my pillow,
place the clock,
face down, put my collar stays in a leather box.
It’s my turn to suffer. The stovepipe
gnaws into the room like an emperor
who’s lost his voice,
and you’re at it again,
doing laps in the ambulance
out on the frozen lake.
Everything seems like something you’d say to me
in a small town, under sitka,
leeward side of a sandbar,
to keep me breathing like a little beast,
skein of brant
some cut-loose kindling.
Neither of us has been perfect.
I carry a fistful of pebbles.
You threaten to swallow them down
when I’m not watching, lost in a squall
and the weird. Truth happens too often.
Place the globe back in orbit–I was mistaken.
If you do not come closer,
we will not need our umbrage.
It is not snow that covers us,
nor spooks, nor wind, just as
this isn’t a shadow
(say stranger), or the carrying off of one animal for another.