Was an emperor of element within the mountain’s hull,
chewing out the corridors of coal,
crafting my labyrinth as demanded.
My art: getting lost in the dark.
Now I practice craving;
it’s the only maze I haven’t built myself and can’t dismantle.
I gave my body to the mountain whole.
For my body, the clinic gave out petals inked with curses.
Refill, refill, refill, until they stopped.
Then I fixed on scraping out my veins,
a trembling maze, a skein of blue.
Am lost in them like a bull
that’s wandered into endless, frozen acres.
Times my simple son will shake me to,
syringe still hanging like a feather from my arm.
What are you always doing, he asks.
Flying, I say. Show me how, he begs.
And finally, I do. You’d think
the sun had gotten lost inside his head,
the way he smiled.
William Brewer is the author of I Know Your Kind (Milkweed Editions, forthcoming 2017), winner of the National Poetry Series, and Oxyana, selected for a Poetry Society of America Chapbook Fellowship, also forthcoming in 2017. Currently a Wallace Stegner Fellow at Stanford University, he grew up in West Virginia.