Five Poems//Benjamin Winkler




could hear     the trains     kissing

at ashland     this was     midsummer

painted faces     for war     with ourn


mother’s kit     stripped shirts     pointed

kitchen knives     at the mewling     of cats

settled     for carving     initials


in birches     smooth bark     like composition

books     we left     them

for someone     else     to find













came     the spitcreek     showing its

bare back     on the banks     hand

to god     had found     him


pressed head     to mareweed     tonguing

zuzim     he planned     to cast

pressed them     from lips     sang


praise     washed selves     with a

piece     of soap     had brung

til even     sacred names     awayed













we practiced     ourn sleeptalk     in birthstain

sheets     a ceiling fan     turned above us

still     sweat left halos     where heads


had been     pillows flaccid     and wet

when we awoke     mouths sore     with sleep

touched all     ourn bodies     despite the heat


touched all     and we     swollen as ticks

rested     went back     to sleeptalk

stoln      liquor the end     of days













a liminal     age     before

we julyed     in the dooryard     punk

burning palms     of hands     flashes


from distant     fireworks     could not

stop sweating     clothes clung     like a

second skin     shed them     as snakes


found     in the dry     line of

the spitcreek     looked upon     ournselves

felt     first blush     of desire












dry water     we couldn’t     wash ourn

bodies     scrub selves     with safeguard

til skin     sloughed off     instead


rough edge     of the spitcreek     we hunted

snakes     the way     they crawled

bare     to earth     as in


the desert     we found     a copper

healing     for whosoever     looks

upon one     let him     be cured

Benjamin Winkler lives and writes in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. His work has previously appeared or is forthcoming in RHINO, The Ilanot Review, and H_NGM_N. Visit his website or contact him on Twitter at @radiatorhums.