The Wardrobe’s Best Dressed: Wilderness//Kingdom by Jory Michelson

This selection, chosen by Managing Editor Krista Cox, is from Wilderness//Kingdom by Jory Michelson, released by Floating Bridge Press in 2019. 


If desire fell from the tree
of knowledge then let me build

a kingdom of apples. The kingdom
will be like this:

ten young men crowned in lilacs,
ten young men reclining on cedar boughs,

ten young men moving like night rain
among saguaros.

Forget the parable
about the five wise virgins who prepared

for the bridegroom’s arrival, they will keep
their oil. This kingdom

is built from the generosity of a kingfisher’s
breast, the thallus of lichen, three agates in the hand

of a boy who’s rowed to shore. In this kingdom there is
no how-to-be-desired, no treasure

to be found in a field, because it shall not be
hidden from you. No, it is

on the lips of every lighted face that seeks
to kiss you welcome.

Jory Mickelson is the inaugural winner of the Evergreen Award Tour prize form Floating Bridge Press for their book Wilderness//Kingdom. Their poems have appeared in print and online in Harvard Divinity Bulletin, diode, Jubilat, The Rumpus, Vinyl Poetry, the Mid-American Review, Ninth Letter, and other journals in the US, Canada, and the UK. They were awarded an Academy of American Poets Prize and have received fellowships from the Lambda Literary Foundation and The Helene Wurlitzer Foundation of New Mexico. They hold an MFA in Poetry from the University of Idaho. Originally from Montana, they now live in the Pacific Northwest.

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