Athena Painted

Step closer.  Let me whisper like feathered
pigments the lyre of my knuckles, the earth
of my hair.  Plums, olives, starfish, the crests
of canaries on my breath, in my skin.

Trace the shell pock of my cheek, the fuchsia
blossom bruised blush just below my helmet’s
brim.  Trace the weather, the charge of lightning.
the sea fog that hides men.  Trace the apple
withheld.
                   Taste on my temple like one grain
of sea salt tongue tip placed the whole marble
world chisel changed: its owl calls, its heft:
the spin and weave of long-legged wind: blue skies
perplexed by cocks and crows and ivory.

Volume  11.2 - December 2018


John Walser
is an associate professor of English at Marian University of Fond du Lac who holds a doctorate in English and Creative Writing from the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee. His poems have appeared or are forthcoming in numerous journals, including Barrow Street, Nimrod, december magazine, Spillway, Lumina, the Pinch, Dressing Room Poetry Review, Yemassee, Iron Horse and Lunch Ticket, as well as the anthology New Poetry from the Midwest 2017. A three-time semifinalist for the Pablo Neruda Prize and a Pushcart nominee, Walser was the recipient of the 2015 Lorine Niedecker Poetry Award from the Council for Wisconsin Writers.