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. 

Night Shifts

               to the memory of Alfred Petrovich

How good the green air felt
when I broke from the foundry’s door
leaving behind the vulcan light
we pounded thin for thirteen hours

until it turned more delicate
than wire, became a tracery of orange
against the skin. How the hammer
echoed in the ear and fettered me

to sleep. How loud the body’s metronome.
Below the tic of cooled muscle, eyes
dim in their sockets, the web
of breath remains. The headlamp mind,

released from the body’s tether, drifts toward
soft-edged trees. How similar the road at waking
to the one bound for rest. How the hammer
of the heart swings, as if for hours, in hand.

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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