May 11


By John Blair

They’ve made this body farm
in the woods near the college
because we need at least to know
that the world is all we are
& the doe

caught by a hidden camera
chewing the spatulate end
of a rib       like a pale stalk
of celery has come just to prove
how foolish we are

to assume anything      about
anything       while they (the dead)
have come just to swell fat-Elvis
in the Texas heat       each one
a song of gall and glib gasses

bubbled humble
hallelujah unto the blue heavens
last tears still wet on what
had once been their eyes
the lacrima mortis that they

say weeps        apocryphal out
beaded with the last things
you see       (faces like tiny inverted
insects        pearls of squandered light
milky with longing)

to water and salt the earth
that makes itself from us       clod
by simmering clod       fly by
maggot by spill       by gone
skin of rain       skin of rot

softened to liquid and humus
in the persistent       grinding mouth
of mercy       to serve as all things do
the world’s strange       & doe-
eyed hunger.



John Blair’s most recent book Playful Song Called Beautifulwas published by the University of Iowa Press in 2016, and his seventh book The Art of Forgettingis forthcoming from Measure Press this fall.


Art by Michelle Johnsen, art editor

Michelle Johnsen is a nature and portrait photographer in Lancaster, PA, as well as an amateur herbalist and naturalist. Her work has been featured by It’s Modern Art, Susquehanna Style magazine, Permaculture Activist magazine,, EarthFirst! Journal, Lancaster Farm Fresh Cooperative, and used as album art for Grandma Shake!, Anna & Elizabeth, and Liz Fulmer Music. Michelle’s photos have also been stolen by, The Daily Mail, and Lancaster Newspapers. You can contact her at mjphoto717 [at]