Killing Poetry by Jay Sizemore

~after Mark Strand

The ink pens are broken,
my palms stained black,
I paint myself with their blood.

The poems are dead.
The libraries are emptying out,
patrons descending spiral staircase spines.
I wake up in sweaty sheets,
wrestling with phantom turns of phrase,
in woods overpopulated with wolves.

I remember the librarian,
how her face melted like paraffin,
the computer screen shining through her eyes.

There is no guilt like mine,
I’ve been killing poetry,
my shower water runs dirty and dark.

The wolves howl from their rusty traps,
I ask to be forgiven,
for living in this skin I’ve been given.


Jay Sizemore was born blue, raised by wolves, and learned to write by translating howls. He doesn’t regret his wisdom teeth.His work can be found here or there, mostly there. Find him at, or, if you’re a stalker, in Nashville, TN, where he may or may not really exist.


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