Featured Excerpt: Poems from Adrian Koesters’ Three Days with the Long Moon

Cover image of THREE DAYS WITH THE LONG MOON, a collection of poems by Adrian Koesters. A full moon shines over silhouetted treetops.This month, we’re taking a peak inside Adrian Koesters’ latest, phenomenal release, Three Days with the Long Moon, a collection that author Kathleen Flenniken called “as intimate as love letters.” We agree, and we think you will too.


Penitentiary

Remembering backwards, the dizzy recourse
of the year ahead, the one in which you said—you will say—
Remember. The mercy that was last year.

The story of her ankles, the phonograph
playing, the icy stops, fingers wringing,
ankles a cross message, an uncontrolled story.

Advertising the self, the self in one’s hands,
the year an iceberg on which a bell is set backwards,
the self a story of a clapper stopped

against the interior of a yoke. No mercy
at your hands, no rings, no touch uncontrolled.
Working at the backwards grasp, no moment

to finish. Between mercy and mercy
and control, between grasping and control,
between Tell me a story and Touch my hands.

The backward of mercy, the back word of mercy
likely is, will be, if you demand it, Remember.
Remember. The phonograph plays it, counter-clock.


Desire

A flaccid arm under the palm of desire
makes a game of hiding in itself
and becomes the bitter wealth of desire

Marriages renew on working promises
held up to cardboard and concrete,
they shine still in the wedding-glass of desire

She kisses an unspent cheek, he touches
her one good breast with his mind
after their long walk in the ruins of desire

The sweetness of all that didn’t happen
on their wedding night melts
when at last they try to snatch at desire

You’re on the threshold of the flash
that inflames old wives, but they won’t
trade in their little secrets of desire

A funnel of smoke, a nib of cocoa
on her lip, spent spirits inside his breath
concoct a likely story of desire

You remember the stones, the shell inside
your pocket, Adrian, the storm that threw
sands against the cottage window of desire


14 Lines on the Nature of Formality

When your friend addressed you as Dear
Heart last morning and Madame
Architect today. As when there are
no egg cups, and you must crack
the soft-boiled eggs into the plate. As when
your brother hands you his razor to shave
your legs, and the key to the wind-up
clock goes missing for lack of winding

and a couple of moves, and as when
in fact the bread has been tossed from the
cupboard but so the chocolate remains.
As when the nylons never leave the drawer.
As when your shoes are all flat ones,
dear heart, your shoes are all flat ones.


Here to Behave

for Peggy

The wolf’s a predator like any
other, so the storyteller says.
Dreaming we don wolf’s
clothes, make ourselves incomp-
rehensible and singular, then
waken, the same sheep.
Dawn brings armistice, recon-
ciliation till the next game
of dusk. Dawn sugar on fingers,
salt behind teeth. Sliced sun in
December fog, browned leaf
on the green bud. Juice of
grapefruit. Stone walk, birds
peck for what they peck. Fires
smoke themselves in the stacks,
walking sticks name us, good,
propels up the worst of the hills.

Yet the night, before the longest moon
rising, utter black. Our greatest friend.


Learn more about Adrian Koesters at adriankoesters.com. Three Days with the Long Moon, and Koesters’ first release with BrickHouse Books, Many Parishes, are available now at online retailers.

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