Will Cordeiro


A shadow scissors
           over folding waves
as birds dissever

across the lake—and
           cripple to their fate
returning home.

The nerves branch out;
           each tree casts light—
I am their prisoner.

Lush meadows seized
           by fall’s chill rash,
rich heads of stalks

wish thinking back.
           Grass gallops off
when grazed by wind.

Clouds loiter over
           every stone. Days
blaze in tongues.

No river turns
           but it’s unnamed.
One star plays dust.

Thus seasons sway
           the smallest flame.
I stand outside,

now bright within
           the rain’s thin cage.
All sorrows burn:

each leaf to ash
           withdraws through sky.
The fog retreats

as structures fade.
           And darkness meets
far lures of fire.



It smelled. Maybe like . . . success?
Or perhaps just subfusc cardstock.

Matte or gloss, cream or shimmer.
My skivvies snortled. Hard to tell.

Things done down here, so I’ve
been told, are paralegal: a duffer,

a dustup, flimflam and spin; flipping
day-planners. O, I’m cutting my teeth,

just brushing by; reclassify unwritten
tapes manhandled by a lax hamfister.

Transcribe it all in Filofax, standard
issue, I cross my t’s in every smitten.

Smoking bans improve the banter, like
a protocol we jimmy, so that post hoc

ergo propter hoc, indemnity of gag
rules upon any would-be tortfeasor

is the precedent recalled. Oddjobs
and twaddling, new tallies to skirt,

we work an oozy matrix of the surds
without apologizing, retool the given

fixtures, clear the docket, then spread
Weltzschmerz across the iffy shlock of

it: Spaghetti-O’s, Captain Underpants.
We’re on the clock, and hear the ding-

an-sich of biological egg-timers anyway.
Fat chance that hearsay gets a leg up on

a steno’s reductive mild blur and fritter,
filed under the firm’s actuarial account.

Author Portrait

Will Cordeiro's work appears or is forthcoming in Best New Poets, Copper Nickel, Crab Orchard Review, DIAGRAM, Fourteen Hills, Nashville Review, [PANK], Phoebe, Poetry Northwest, and elsewhere. He lives in Flagstaff, where he teaches in the Honors College at Northern Arizona University.