Mike Wilson


when someone you love
breaks your heart
and you must put one foot 
in front of the other

Nor is it the end of the world 
when your broken heart 
becomes a shrine 
of candles, novenas, and tears

And it’s not the end of the world
to be helpless and hopeless
alone in a forest
of preventable tragedy
Just put one foot 
in front of the other
and walk to the end 
of the world



You write with barbed wire in your gut
a seven-layer salad of passive-aggression

your letter a curse hurled from a hurricane
bursting at the seams with blows below the belt

not seeing something inside you subpoenas
unhappiness to break bread with your own

writing I won’t hold on to negativity in cursive
radioactive with a half-life longer than your own

your letter is a poisoned handkerchief
I drop from my hand too late – your venom

swims my veins like bootleg chemotherapy
this cocktail concocted from your own juices

delivered with mixed messages of a predator
luring someone into a windowless shack


Wrath aerates your platitudes like bubbles
hurtling to the surface of a pond.

I tread slowly and blind on your tar baby shores 
making myself still and small and careful

balancing time like a tray about to topple
and spill tragedy on white linen tablecloths.                   

Your letter was a stage whisper I cannot hear
to prompt lines I won’t recite and now 

you’re hiding behind a curtain where
the audience imagines your finger in the dike

a high school drama of scorn and salvation
Christ betrayed and alone until

God approaches during intermission
to share a cigarette in the garden. 

Mike Wilson’s work has appeared in magazines including Cagibi Literary Journal, The London Reader, The Aurorean, The Ocotillo Review, and in Mike’s book, Arranging Deck Chairs on the Titanic, (Rabbit House Press, 2020), political poetry for a post-truth world. Mike lives in Central Kentucky