By Martin Willitts Jr


An ember in a smothered campfire
snap-cracked its last breath.
A movement of stars
hunches over the charcoal clouds.

The world closed in
like a tent.

The sum total of my life, this infinity
beyond stars where frightened lives
and smallness exist, overtook me.
There was no fear that was not my own. 

My heart is always restlessly disturbed.


When in the landscape of dreams,
that quiet presence,
respond to the world
and all its fleeting assurances.

We are strangers even to ourselves.
We could burn and turn cold as coal.
We could go into storm-fields
trying to brush away low-hanging branches
like a person fighting sleep. And still,
we could be seething within silence
as snow reminds us firmly
it is time to hibernate.


To the west,
I knew a mountain by touch.

The sky is greying.
A freeze is coming,
arriving late.


Martin Willitts Jr is a retired librarian who has been a primitive camper and has visited almost all the national parks. He has 20 chapbooks, including the winner of the Turtle Island Quarterly Editor’s Choice Award, “The Wire Fence Holding Back the World” (Flowstone Press, 2017), plus 11 full-length collections including forthcoming full-lengths includes “The Uncertain Lover” (Dos Madres Press, 2018), and “Home Coming Celebration” (FutureCycle Press, 2019).