Jon Wilkins


Just like you, she came here drawn
by the moonlight and the rainy gallop,

gali gali she was at first, but her body
was quickly swallowed by the long shrift –

shafts of light on even the most moonless
night recall her sitting, transformed,

transfixed at her milky disk, scribbling,
frantic. The distance makes her motion

motionless, but expands her kisses, petals,
thorns, through infirmity to infinity



Just like you, she came here on a cloud
from the Kingdom of Napping, cottled,

cauterized from aspiration or despair, she,
since a fair princess among rose pedals,

peddler of wheres in a language strange
to hear spoken this way or written –

ridden, strap-worn, callused in odd places,
making her unlocatable, casteless.

Castles circle in the nali, nali sky, impossible
it is become to tell rain from reign



Just like you, she came here with a needle
pointing at the North of her self's future.

Furniture came easily enough, found as it was
on the end-of-term curbs in piles of excess,

excreted as part of that ancient fight-or-flight
response. Still, does she miss the dragonflies,

flagging down the hill now, drowning in ponds
frozen at the edge? We don't know. We turn nunmon,

mountain nuns in a twisted sex palace of mind. But we know
that she is missed by the pond and frozen mist



Just like you, she came here clutching after death
like it was the world's last breadstick, tattered,

teetering on the edge of a table like a lever
poised above its fulcrum to shift the world,

whirled around the head of God like a nunchuck
swung by that kid in community college: acne

acknowledged by the scars on his face
and a loneliness that he has not outgrown.

Her gown shimmers in the chiaro di luna.
Her beauty refracts, amplifies, redact



Just like you, she came here impressed
with the smallness and largeness of things:

the gnarled mess of strings collecting
in the corner like incense at a requiem,

like quorum-sensing bacteria on a thin plate
dissected from the livers of spinsters

sponsored by lovers from across the ocean.
A young nurse now, her daughter sighs,

cauterizes a wound on yet another ragged
narechena, its once-sublime sublimating



Just like you, she came here rabota
on all fours braking only for children,

windshield streaked with the corpses
of the nameless, almost pure protein.

A pro team wants the man-child beside
her, and she understands the road ahead:

a red hood of shame and brief notoriety,
but she knows the she by then transformed,

hands morphed in two protein shaped
too balls cartilaginous, Carthaginous






These poems originated in an effort to write a ghazal. However, I found something interesting. The deep rhyme scheme in the ghazal seems to force one of two tones on a poem. Either the poem has to be extremely earnest, in a hippy-dippy kind of way, or it devolves into low-brow comedy with lots of puns. So, I started tweaking the form in an effort to find something in which I felt that I could be emotionally authentic. After many, many tweaks, I wound up with this form.