Jory Mickelson: Two Poems

Photo by Marina Reich on Unsplash

Johnathan to David
after Hannah VanderHart What is shameful about this nakedness? I have given you every weapon, my armor. Adorn me with nothing but your gaze, my love. Sheath my killing sword. Lay aside the arrows. Lay aside the deadly bow. Ornament me with kisses. Bring

your mouth near. Because nashaq

means to bring two mouths together as well as to dress oneself for battle.

The Beautiful Room is Empty

The beautiful room is empty like my chest is, a beautiful but empty room; though it has a view. What is this encircling, on all this nothing? The emptiness resounds like a chorus which makes no sound. Once in a wide vista, young pronghorns who’d never seen a car circled with worry, then paused in confusion, circled again. The view is a spaciousness where beauty is the shroud. This beautiful room has no cure—only slumber and my heart is insomniac, wanders the halls tracing shapes of what the soul might look like, its fingers on the walls, ghost image for what doesn’t persist. Is this restlessness an understanding? The room stood empty, without a view, so it tried to be beautiful instead. Is this what it is to strive at meaning— —? The slender animal noosed then tethered. My chest is empty so it has never bled. But it has a view, which might be called beautiful—a nothingness, a resounding quality, a quiet that goes on and on and nowhere.

Jory Mickelson is the queer, nonbinary author of WILDERNESS//KINGDOM, inaugural winner of the Evergreen Award Tour and 2020 High Plains Book Award in Poetry. Their publications include Court Green, Painted Bride Quarterly, Jubilat, Diode Poetry Journal, The Rumpus, Ninth Letter, and other journals. They are the recipient of an Academy of American Poets Prize and were awarded fellowships from Lambda Literary Foundation and the Helene Wurlitzer Foundation of New Mexico. They live in the Pacific Northwest.

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