Paris Poem

Form is a fetish, but it's a sin to live as if. In my twenty-sixth year, I became a believer in private property, or rather private property became a believer in me.

Wax melts in a dark room. We have learned to love sovereignty once again Victoria! Now show us your stuffed squirrels playing cards in a glass case.

Let me drink it off, this fin-de-fin-de-siècle. All the systematic theology in the world won't put this night back together. Great underwater lung, breathe. I swim through canyons, your bra-strap my life-boat. Ballerinas ride bicycles on the shore.

The coach was not, in fact, a ghost of your late father. There were boys from Kenosha drinking champagne. Wind blows, up comes the dust. In the dream we were hunters, and on waking we knew it was true.


Question of Tense

The window frame is not an allegory. It is a window frame. It needs paint. The sky fills with cheese curds and tropical fish. Did you say something about violet hands or violent hands? I didn’t hear; I was breaking the mirror.

This morning the seaside floated away. The tour guides sweat and point to the listing inn, crusted with pastel umbrellas. It had that fountain you so loved: two bronze boys barehanding fish from a brook — the younger's face dark save for an oblong upper lip rubbed to a sheen.

Thousands of tiny paper cups surrounded the cemetery. In the center of the flag there was a hole. In the center of the hole there were trees and air. For once things appear as they are. What could it mean.


V. JOSHUA ADAMS is a former editor of Chicago Review, and the author of a chapbook, Cold Affections, forthcoming from Plan B Press. He teaches literature and writing at the University of Louisville. For more information, visit vjoshuaadams.com