• Diorama

    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 author of Penumbra (2017), winner of the Hollis Summers Poetry Prize. Born in Texarkana, Texas, he is the recipient of fellowships from the Bread Loaf Writers' Conference, the Sewanee Writers' Conference, and Stanford University, where he was a Wallace Stegner fellow. His recent poems appear in Best American Poetry, Ploughshares, Southern Review, and elsewhere. He lives in San Francisco Bay Area with his wife, Emily. 

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