Poems: Jory Mickelson

Adolescence: Prelude

The restless build of song
in my own too-young-

to-drive, too-far-from-city
body broke out in pacing

from the parents who monitored
every switched direction.

I grew brusqueful, breathless threw
myself down on couches and beds

trying to break apart the monotony
of my body—got back up to pace,

to swim in the slow circle
of adolescence. In some car

in an out of reach city, there,
someone was up to everything,

glimpsed from the empty
screen, its long blue stare.


At closing we refuse to
acknowledge the old

men with their new-again
mustaches and their

endless Donna Summer
saying it’s the last dance.

It’s summertime. It’s
summer in the city . . .

In my bedroom, down
near the frown of your

thigh, it’s alembic. I wait
all night for the tune

of you to play. Windows
open, curtains back,

our music currents
across the new mown lawn.

When we relent and rest
among the static, when

the hours of night mix
sufficiently with morning, when

the oldest and the youngest tremble
open their eyes, the birds quit

their fine, thin sleep and round
into the air about us singing.
Jory Mickelson lives in the Pacific Northwest. His work has most recently appeared in Fifth Wednesday Journal, The Florida Review, and The Carolina Quarterly. His poem “Self-Portrait as Phantom Space Man” was nominated by The Carolina Quarterly for Best New Poets 2015. You can follow him on Twitter @poetryphone.

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