One Poem by Jory Mickelson


It seems all I want 
is to remember, as if this year 
has nothing to offer & maybe it has
nothing I want to look too closely at.
Where there once was grass, there is
only sand, but no water to carry it. 
It’s stunning how fire 
cleans, or should I say scours  
the world bare, despite the ash,  
despite the ember, despite this field
that’s now only expanse. 

Did I tell you? I once fucked 
a man (full moon, May) beneath 
a black hawthorn, the flowerstink petaling
our sweat & thrust. We were determined
to remember our goodbye. It was there
& there is nothing now. It was 
right there, where you can’t see 
him or me. I can’t explain  
the patience of the soil and of stars, 
how they seem to outlast all 
our taking & resisting by turn, what we give
them. Someday, no one will  
know what I’m talking about, 
not even him, who’s been 
married a decade to a man I know nothing of. 

Not even me, who, I am ashamed 
to say, carved a star into the trunk and
when I passed the tree, I’d thumb the scar 
& call it starwork. But now, the star’s set free,
the field, the tree all air & nothing 
& nothing again


Jory Mickelson is a trans writer whose first book, WILDERNESS//KINGDOM, is the inaugural winner of the Evergreen Award Tour from Floating Bridge Press and winner of the 2020 High Plains Book Award in Poetry. Their publications include Court Green, Painted Bride Quarterly, Jubilat, Sixth FinchDiode, and The Rumpus. They are the recipient of an Academy of American Poets Prize and were awarded fellowships from the Lambda Literary Foundation, Winter Tangerine, and the Helene Wurlitzer Foundation of New Mexico. They are a 2022 Jack Straw Writer in Seattle, Washington where they write about visual arts, queerness, and erasure.