Three Poems

POETRY by V. Joshua Adams


Ever more about


At last we were safe in the woods.
The now of the blades at work

made the swaying sound of bees
overhead, attentive to husk.

Our bare feet brushed. What we held
was enough this to hide the trail

of our rust: furrowed by rain, open to
jonquil, here and here. Feverish beds

pleat dusk with the mellow
science. They see us there cupped

round the stems at suck,
so we crawl on, praising our hands.


* * *




Faith in the sidewalk takes all day.
It’s not enough to forget beauty
or twist its umbrella. People stop me
on the street and ask about my aunt’s
operation. I don’t have an aunt,
but if I did she would be furious
and complicated.

Dear Jim, I have to say that, at this point
in time, no, I am not in love with you.
She longs for a flood of swallows
or a phalanx of lilac, rhythm of rain shower.
Instead, the dragons on the shore are clay
and pines rot in too much water.

Caustically earnest, this exhaustion
is like self-defense class in the suburbs:
sold out. Through the cracked glass,
sea-wolves dance on the playroom floor.
The pilot light goes out.

Asking nicely does the trick
only on Wednesday.
That’s when we wake inside of the gem
And our voice comes back
more brilliant taken apart.


* * *




Morning, midsummer. Asphalt exhales
a white coat. Red spots the lapel, skirt
and sturdy shoes.
       Nights, she’s a nurse;
days, she sleeps on an overstuffed couch.
Foxhunt prints stand guard.

High up in the attic I read the Odyssey.
Souls drink blood from pits and speak clouds
of pink mist. Embracers tumble.

Across the river in the sick city
people sicken and die. Here by the pool
the sun shines, and the gardeners break for lunch.

Each night you leave for the land of the dead.
Each day you come back.
          Each time is enough.



V. Joshua Adams is a doctoral candidate in Comparative Literature at the University of Chicago, where he is completing a dissertation on skepticism and impersonality in modern poetry. He edited Chicago Review from 2008–2010 and now serves as a MAPH preceptor. Recent work of his has appeared in Atlanta Review, Argo, and The FSG Book of Twentieth-Century Italian Poetry.

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