Who was asking for you that you’ve come knocking on my door,
And looking like a single spark in an August of no rain? You’re

What follows: There’s no easy way to say this, you’re the damp crack
In the cellar wall, the shadow on the x-ray, the one last martini before driving back

Home on a slippery night. You’ve worked your wedding ring
Up over your knuckle and into your pocket (again); you’re sliding

Down the bar towards me. Who was asking for you? You’re as unwelcome
As a smoke alarm’s skirl, a whole side of the body gone suddenly numb,

A midnight phone call, a third straight night without sleep.
You’re a bind, a bad way, a pickle, a fix: what I’m in, and deep.

by James Scannell McCormick

Photo by David Rifkin Copyright 2009

James Scannell McCormick holds a doctorate in creative writing-poetry from Western Michigan University. His works have appeared in CutBank, The Lucid Stone, SLANT, Rattapallax, and most recently in The Pedestal. His poem “Lot (Hermes in Tulips)” was nominated for a 2008 Pushcart Prize. He currently lives in and teaches in Rochester, Minnesota.

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