Clockwork Overture

I wrote your name on the inside of my skin 

with a glue gun. I wore your dress 

around the house while on my knees, scrubbing

scorched milk off the linoleum, whistling Louie 

Louie to the audience of a sleeping dog. You would be proud

of the new monstera. How only now am I able to keep something

alive. I found a spool of your hair beneath the floor

boards & flushed them without overthinking. 

You see, I have & I haven’t changed

the sheets, the propane, the music for weeks.

Outside, the world continues on its drum. Inside, I squeeze open

from the insides. Later today I will peel an orange

for lunch, measure its segments with a knife & laugh holy

as the blood runs down my chin into your grave.


Philip Schaefer’s collection Bad Summon (University of Utah Press, 2017) won the Agha Shahid Ali Poetry Prize, while individual poems have won contests published by The Puritan, Meridian, & Passages North. His work has been featured on Poem-A-Day, Poetry Daily, Verse Daily, and in The Poetry Society of America. He recently opened a modern Mexican restaurant called The Camino in Missoula, MT.