Poetry: Selections from Corey Mesler

At the Door of Morning

Before I go out to get
the morning paper
my dog barks at the
dark, closed door,
alerting the world that her
human is about to emerge.
In this way she thinks
she keeps me safe.
And when I open the door
the sunlit world
is like a bright and parlous
movie. Her eyes
dance with the delight of
a scene she sees every day.
I go out, comforted
and shielded, just a man
with a very small war to win.

Going Home

I own a bookstore.
It’s as old, and as
holy, as a tree.
It exists only two blocks
from my house. When
I am out—
which is rare—I
return to the bookstore,
alive with dreamers,
and I call it going home.


As I fill the birdfeeder
a bluejay bitches at
me about the proliferation
of starlings, as if I played
favorites. And the cardinal
couple is treated like popes.
I admit this is so. Before I
turn to return to the house he
says, And everyone, just
so you know, hates the squirrels.

In the haunted house

In the haunted house
I spend a lot of
time in the sunnier
rooms. I’m not afraid
to be afraid. In
sleep I am visited by
the hungry dead and
I wake slowly like a
drain opening. In the
kitchen the ghosts are
making breakfast. Their
concentration breaking
eggs is childlike, and deadly.

That There Could be Light

We worked hard throughout
the blind nights, making promises
of love, using the bed to re-
fine our allusions. In the dark,
in the bloody dark, friends, we
worked, we toiled, we gave each
other pleasures soon passing.
We did our best. We woke to
need, you know the restlessness.

I saw Walt Whitman

I saw Walt Whitman in the
supermarket. He was
buying sunflower seeds
for the sparrows in his beard.

Corey Mesler has been published in numerous anthologies and journals including Poetry, Gargoyle, Five Points, Good Poems American Places, and New Stories from the South. He has published over 20 books of fiction and poetry. His newest novel, The Diminishment of Charlie Cain, is from Livingston Press. He also wrote the screenplay for We Go On, which won The Memphis Film Prize in 2017. With his wife he runs Burke’s Book Store (est. 1875) in Memphis. 


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