Pick-a-Poem: Joshua Poteat


Welcome, blog readers, to another installment of Pick-a-Poem! I hope you’re having a great Wednesday, and I hope you’re ready for some poetry. Every week, we feature a new poem here on the blog. These poems all come from Poetry Daily, which is a great website that features a new poem every single day. Today we’re featuring Department of Acoustic Appliances by Joshua Poteat.

According to his bio page, Joshua Poteat has written two poetry collections, Illustrating the Machine that Makes the World and Ornithologies. The latter won the Anhinga Prize for Poetry. He also wrote three chapbooks, Meditations (winner of the National Chapbook Award from the Poetry Society of America), For the Animal, and The Scenery of Farewell. 

Department of Acoustic Appliances by Joshua Poteat

I listen to July on the bricks, the weeds growing tall
below the heat. At the bottom of the hill,
three metal bands in the old box factory
churn out their simultaneous reliquaries,
sped-up prayers to no one in particular.
It is always postwar here.
Some days I want to give it all back,
this house, the neighborhood, the city,
to the silt and the wolves, the long flocks
of the sea folded and alluvial inside the clay.
But that’s not my decision. Instead, I turn
the porch light on for the spider, the bulb
brings gnats and soon the whole web is alive
and shining, as if evening could only begin
with these small deaths. Instead, I buy outdoor
furniture, citronella, gas for the mower, which is
the opposite of giving it back. I throw seed
to the pigeons because the whip-poor-wills of my youth
are now pigeons, no more chuck-will’s-widow
through the low pines, signaling down the meadow
and the years, a living radio mouthing news to the wind,
quarried from the architecture of some child’s song
in an old dead time. It isn’t enough, but I’ll take
what I can get. Look, there I am, a man
bent at fixing himself somewhere, in the space
between our being and the earth that is.

I hope you enjoyed this week’s feature poem! For more posts like this, click here.

— Jet Fuel Blog Editor, Mary Egan


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