Aaron McCollough

4 poems

Psalm 11.8 

I’m real. The weight of me impresses the long grass of the lawn of the only people I know.

My soul sits at a walnut table. The harsh rhythm of minor blasphemy tickles my skin but means
only “beware the inexorable treachery of the world’s appearances.”

The Lord may need rest, but we are in a wild place of what is and what isn’t the same river.

I’m very real, with a stairwell long and dark in mine own eye and the fruit I bore an inconvenient
season. Acorns crash on the deck outside.

I want protection.

Day and night do not pass, they adhere, and roll together under uneven weight, a good
measure, pressed down, shaken, and running over,

a grateful kind of losing.


Psalm Clouds Didymus, Judas the twin

Innocence – whatever we mean by the term – does not just
go away in a shock, as the phrase “loss of innocence” suggests –
or, “the Fall.” If we lose it, we do so entropically: the cooling
of a humid condition (physical life) that leads to snow fall.

have you found the beginning then, he said
Thought not. All the now long-growing day
still knots, still clouds diaphragm between abdomen
and chest: my own life, urine, sweat, saliva like
tears—interstitials falling from the mixture, frost in eden

 , that you look to the end

I do remember condensation and the mildew smell
of most of the world’s rooms before I really had to speak for myself
found feelings determined ideas
find ideas in feelings you feel know the word for

you may cloud and break the cloud
that feeling forming in your chest

nothing is conserved, something just begins

those shadows of clouds in summer
slowly darkening the asphalt before
the rain darkens it more


Psalm 12.24

What is a hard heart? A heart is a little room inside a little room, etc., one of infinite stanzas
stacked between water and sky.

We are close prisoners all …
though within larger walls

Usually made of waste fabric, the heart’s room is white. The veil of earth would always be
clouded with blushing if scars were not empty, down whose capillaries echo the sounds of an
old spring trickling in a cave.

But we paint the walls another tenant painted in a sturdy understanding with the elements.

What if these feelings of unreality were the evidence one sought, of love’s scattered work
working itself out in spasm and sense?: yesterday, it was Christmas, tomorrow is Christmas
Eve. I feel sad to pass into these less-long nights because my heart is less open. The air smells
of eggs in the valley and in the hills.


Psalm 02.03

The gorge in the mountain
is the beginning of disappearance,
but that’s how the sun
works its way from the air
to the center of the earth

(like rain upon the fleece,
and as showers falling gently

and the sun carries the creatures,
or they find themselves there. 

Jerry says — Jerry is another friend of the family — most fish die
from the fright, even after they’re released,

but before that it feels fine
to throw a baited hook 
out in their way,
and when one takes it,
the tensed line through the border
of nature opens a frame
as large in your body
as all the flooded caves
beyond the dam,
lighted with water and slivered
with hyalescent forms.

Aaron McCollough is the author of six poetry collections. His most recent, Rank, was published by the University of Iowa Press in 2015. He has appeared in Interim previously, as well as many other journals, including Boston Review, A Public Space, Fence, and jubilat.