michael j. wilson

Handkerchief Code : Black

Where does black fall on the spectrum?

                                        The question                is not about light reaching from the recently eclipsed sun
                      sliding                        along sidewalks like water

                                        I’m asking because God             occasionally
drops            a handkerchief                    a body               a season
an entire generation in the middle of the road like it’s nothing

                                        I won’t explain this to you reader
                        this is not explainable
              go ask the internet

              Years behind plywood doors              hearing music from the next room
muffled voices sex sounds amplified by giant speakers movie screens a tap under the stall –

                                                                    I expect you to know this already –

                        The chemical castration the re-education the therapy
electrocutions the religious belief in some high salvation –

                                        The dead from AIDS the dead from suicide the dead from botched surgeries the dead from prison cells the dead from the very light being cast –

                                                            + if                      the hankie dropped                     is black

                                                                           some dominant submissive thing

                        from which side does God cast it out –

                                        It would fall                       leaves                   or ash
touching no one          it would land
                                                                on some sidewalk                   bathed in the light of spring
These handkerchiefs are called saints
                                                   are burning       holes into our streets


Michael J. Wilson teaches at the Santa Fe University of Art & Design. His first book, A Child of Storm is out from Stalking Horse Press. He posts new work daily on his website -