Joshua Marie Wilkinson


A Brief History of Windows

No seeing, but sewn
with a hem of light.

Hunt without your hands,
learn to move without
speaking through the

brothers’ offerings. A
knock at the door

means the weather is
part of what rescinds
the dusk or part

of what makes the falling
light fall into you.

A Brief History of Spells

Felled the light, neither
cordoned off or blanched—

we hunted slowly & with
our eyes shut, the doors

opening slightly enough for
the beginning to
mollify our doubts,

lengthening what the city
puts on offer—cobbled
city of noise

& yellow departures. Names
for birds, names for their
nests & for the

creatures who go robbing.
Rubbed together like gloves.
A wing, a shadow with

a glow pocking it.  A new lie
but wary.  What untoward

blundering the cracks in
the flooring.

I am part of the field that’s
buried in the pillowcase.

Part of the adage which tallies
the losses as if with twigs.

A Brief History of the Color White

We shovel it, hold
through the point

in the false eyelash.
I have three more lies
to tell, but they

each get through
the liver, back into

blood.  Not to carry.
Nor to carry through.

The graveyard becomes
a tool for listening, widow

watching, sanding down
our first fables.

We are held in the elevator’s
strange milk. We are sour

in the light with children
under our own eyelashes.

Go, but falteringly.
Listen, but without your
boots, held so still

the grained light repeals
the movie you’ve been
ferried into.

A Brief History of Reticence

Nobody’s hangar lifts
the curse, wields a cup

of bluish milk. The dogs
are sleepy. The light is
sleepier than the dogs.

Our shudders even the
score when the weather

begins in the fortress and
ends in the next fortress.

Stand of trees in the wolf
eye, a polaroid of this holding

you softly back.


Joshua Marie Wilkinson is the author of four collections of poetry: Suspension of a Secret in Abandoned Rooms (Pinball, 2005), Lug Your Careless Body out of the Careful Dusk (Iowa, 2006), Figures for a Darkroom Voice (with Noah Eli Gordon; Tarpaulin Sky, 2007), and The Book of Whispering in the Projection Booth (Tupelo, 2008 or 09). This fall he will assume a teaching post at Loyola University Chicago.