January by Jason Irwin

Feb 19, 2024 | Bubbler

They say it will end badly—
this happily-ever-after we’ve created

out of a truckload of books & kitchenware,
second-hand chairs & yellowed photographs.

The present, they say, is all that matters,
but how did we arrive here; & what of the past—

those dark rooms we so often find ourselves
wandering, trying to make straight

what was destined to remain crooked?

It will end badly, they say—
but in the afterlife I imagine for us

we’re lying in bed under the glow
of the paper lantern you bought in Laos,

mugs of tea steeping on our nightstands
as you recite a new poem—repeating the words Lickspittle,

Lemon & Exquisite, as if they were a magic spell, or prayer—
your shadow arching to the rhythm of each syllable.

Jason Irwin is the author of three full-length poetry collections, most recently The History of Our Vagrancies (Main Street Rag, 2020). . In 2022 he was a Zoeglossia Fellow and part of the Poetry Foundation’s Disability Poetics Project. His nonfiction has been published in Santa Ana Review, Panorama, The Catholic Worker, and City of Asylum’s Pittsburgh Live/Ability: Encounters in Poetry and Prose Project. He grew up in Dunkirk, NY, and now lives in Pittsburgh.