Michael Shewmaker

Winter 2017


Beneath the banister,
along the wall, two racks of shoes

and a tall black grandfather clock.
Its face reads eight o’clock.

It chimes. A wooden woman
walks a small mechanical plank.

A row of portraits scales the stairs,
each larger than the last.


Greens and yellows. A man leans
hard on the bathroom door.

Covered with a ringed quilt,
the bed is meticulously made:

too many pillows. Matching lamps
light the matching nightstands.

His hand jostles the knob.
Everything is in its place.


In the center of the room,
a table left in ruin—

a meal heaped on three plates,
a fourth shattered on the floor.

Milk trickles from a tiny mug

Michael Shewmaker is the recent winner of the Hollis Summers Poetry Prize and author of Penumbra (forthcoming from Ohio University Press). He is a Jones Lecturer in poetry at Stanford University.

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