Four Poems

by Michael Prihoda

These pieces draw inspiration from artwork, where the title of the piece comes from the title of the artwork. The visual implications of the artwork inform the poem's content. The artist receives reference in parentheses, and it is suggested that you find the visual art to pair with the poem for maximization of the experience.

As It Is Now
(Katelyn Alain)

i can’t heal you
for you.

grow another
set of eyes,

see tomorrow
and today

without me
as paragon,

as paradigm,
as pariah

for the way
a ceiling

bleeds
diaphanous

toward your gown
and the overgrowth

of the furniture
bathed in half-light


The Tempest II
(Laura Alexander)

the storm
is all white.

the storm
is cylindrical

like a two liter
of soda

as 99 cent
add-on

to the twelve
slices in the large pizza,

feeding a family of four
as well as a forecast

will feed this
lake-bound resonance.

the loons rise
in pairs,

a memory
of monogamy

without a chapel
gong or rice or streamers,

pared down,
a core without seeds.

they, as us,
bear no children

when swimming
in a pond

before its
ripples


Day Job for the Night Sky
(Jake Balas)

we distressed
the turf

long before
the stars.

an amalgam
of postcards

& ticket stubs
in out-turned pockets.

a man’s face
is only his face

for as long as
he attaches

a syndrome
to a pint glass.

there is no beneath,
there is only under

& shadow &
the promise

that we don’t have
to live this twice


It Scares the Crap Out of Me
(Jeff Ballard)

i told you
how my father

bought a pistol,
earned his concealed carry license

during an unseasonably
hot stretch of Wisconsin spring

when all the snow
turned black,

reduced to the phlegm
of our tires

& the discarded passions
of miniscule anthropoids.

he kept the pistol
in a drawer upstairs,

thought of it as my mother
scooped something from dish to plate

& he poured his beer just so,
the perfect tilt securing a quarter inch head.

a will could go in a drawer
next to that handgun

& i could discover
them both, experienced

only as afterthoughts
until a building, a memorandum,

a terrified voice on
a text message.

i have to call, meaning:
they wished i’d picked up the first time.

but it, another name
for the angel Gabriel’s filing cabinet,

won’t shuffle the slamming
of a drawer

for loss of the wreckage
in those pews.


These pieces originally appeared in Study Visit

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