Justin Wymer

The Mystic in the Shed

The question remains whether, when a murderer looks at the country boy in charge of fetching water from the well, he thinks, “You’re more powerful than I am.” There are short and tall versions of both men. They don’t walk over clover but the names of whom they’d vanish. There are snails and their lubricious history in the open gleam behind them. There’s a shed by the well where they keep the palm-reader licking at canned tomatoes, bready window dust. She’s nervous and dangerous. She’d like to lick the tiny hands of the minotaur to know what he knows, to sleep with the light on, to function as proudly as a lesser goose allowed its crooked rung in the airborne wishbone moving south.

There’s an odd arrangement of pawns on the worksurface in the corner of her shed. A peach smell of woodnote early Friday morning makes the question clear in hand: How can a nation willingly defeat its own chance? It’s part of the myth of providence, I suppose. If you drill enough pipelines, the local gods break a collarbone and leave you to yourself.

I bubble and rinse, present myself to January air. This. This missing the point because I’m too worried about sleeping with the palm reader. We’re both humiliated. I’d like to have a friend. There’s a deadly coast just north of here and if we’re for the most part obedient, if we plan now, midnight doesn’t have to be a form of goodbye.

In our dream band, on secondhand cello:

Justin Wymer has received awards and fellowships from Harvard Office for the Arts, the Rockefeller Foundation, Academy of American Poets, the Spanish Ministry of Culture and Sport, and the Radcliffe institute, among others. His first poetry collection, DEED, won the Antivenom Poetry Prize, judged by Jennifer Franklin, and was published in 2019. He teaches courses for Hudson Valley Writers’ Center and the Jack Kerouac School of Disembodied Poetics. He lives in Denver, where he recently curated a folio on queer-trauma-related literature for Denver Quarterly. Read more at justinwymer.com

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