Into and Out of the Woods
I said, the woods, when
we were small, they
were a place of treasure, mystery,
adventure. If they did
not hold the fortunes
of kingdoms gone, they held
story the way a book does, a vade mecum.
I read the woods, then, I said, its map;
we were all pirates,
conquerors, young Muirs.
She said, you say we
are out of the woods now.
You say, this is good
and it is. We are, many of us, out of the
woods. I say, yes, it
is good. The woods, though, are still, and
still in me. The inside
of my head is dark, friends. There are
things frightening to me and
this is their sovereign: the woods are me.
Above Us Only Sky
And sometimes it’s enough,
like the blue of my
daughter’s eye, a background
for birds, a launching
pad for the flight in me.
Sometimes it’s enough, like the
space between the first
word and the second and the third.
A Short Introduction to the Neighborhood
The blind woman next door keeps complaining about the noise. The garbage man leaves more and more garbage, stuff we can’t refuse. The crippled little girl is playing marbles. The ragman draws flies. I step out onto my porch and survey the outlying properties. Nothing is mine, yet I feel this newborn power. It is my turn, my rag-and-bone-shop wife tells me, to sift through the garbage.
COREY MESLER is the owner of Burke’s Book Store, in Memphis, Tennessee, one of the country’s oldest (1875) and best independent bookstores. He has published poetry and fiction in numerous journals including Turnrow, Rattle, Pindeldyboz, Quick Fiction, American Poetry Journal, Thema, Mars Hill Review, Adirondack Review, Poet Lore and others. He has also been a book reviewer for The Memphis Commercial Appeal and Memphis Flyer. A short story of his was chosen for the 2002 edition of New Stories from the South: The Year’s Best. Talk, his first novel, appeared in 2002. His 2nd novel, We Are Billion-Year-Old Carbon, came out in January 2006. His novels have received praise from Lee Smith, John Grisham, Robert Olen Butler, Frederick Barthelme, George Singleton, Marshall Chapman, Steve Stern and others. His latest poetry chapbooks are The Hole in Sleep (2006), The Agoraphobe’s Pandiculations (2006), Publisher (2007) and The Chloe Poems (2007). His poem, “Sweet Annie Divine,” was chosen for Garrison Keillor’s The Writer’s Almanac. His first full-length collection of poetry, Some Identity Problems, is due out in 2007. He also claims to have written “Dang Me.” Most importantly, he is Toby and Chloe’s dad and Cheryl’s husband. He can be found at www.coreymesler.com.