Institution of Secrets

By Joshua Marie Wilkinson

for Roberto Tejada


Dabbed with a clean hand towel

sought out through trees—

Nothing to apologize for

except the apology

& on we go—under

a split moon, shadows, etcetera.


Into the meadows for

what? Love, a slash

at the grass, ladybug

on the cuff of my jeans

as the coyotes come into view

and vanish back into the sedge.


There’s nothing I won’t do

unless I know what it is.

Full background, teeming. Soft

larder. Slept in the bed of the truck

last night with cold dreams.


The clouds stained with us looking

up at them, tracking, pulling,

drowsing out again.

Animals Abate

By Joshua Marie Wilkinson

Now back to the chaos. Each

crow sucked into the night’s

clutches. Soft sleeping

until the drills quake out.


Here is where living begins—

No memory but the one to get

out of the present’s exacting

noise. One ocean spilling into

the next like our names mean


nothing. Yet we persist. Telescope

full of stars with no eye

to leer through it. Quenched thirst.

Abated animals. Plaintive cry

from the hedge of creosote

and mesquite over there somewhere.


Look at the sun falling like

a moon. Look at that.

Stand still while I throw this

stone over your head.


We’ve got a little ways to go

for such a blinding trip.

Joshua Marie Wilkinson wrote a book called Meadow Slasher (Black Ocean 2017).