Justin Jannise

In a clear box, the nails arrive

already painted a matte light blue

behind clouds. I don’t need to tell you

the clouds are white.

Their round blubbery backs

rise and briefly sail

—a veritable pod of five or six

per nail.

I prefer my own glue.

It has a brush.

I check each finger for a pulse, and soon,

when I stretch

I’m mindful that

another quarter inch

of the wind above and the infinite

below appears within reach.

Are you a poet like me,

or is your love affair

with the sky already over?

It’s not clear,

it’s breathtakingly blue,

the sky. You told me to avoid that word

but sometimes one

will still slip through.

Justin Jannise is the author of How to Be Better by Being Worse. A graduate of Yale University, the Iowa Writers’ Workshop, and the University of Houston, Justin teaches at Prairie View A&M University.
Originally published:
September 18, 2023


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