Jim WhitesidePoetry / Number 93
Seeing the bared teeth of one chained
to the tree, we say The animal must
be trained. But what of me?
What I found
in the body of the first lover: a lost gospel
preaching wildness. It must be broken, we say
when the animal is too much an animal,
and opening my body to his body also felt like
In those days, repair meant
sitting at the edge of the fountain
tossing coins. With each, the wish I might learn
which is greater: the lark’s extended wing,
the trees’ shifting shadows, the birds
that peck and flutter at our feet in the plaza,
the ghosts inside us, unchained, waiting.
Jim Whiteside is a graduate of the creative writing MFA program at The University of North Carolina at Greensboro, a Virginia Center for the Creative Arts fellow, and the recipient of a Tennessee Williams Scholarship from the Sewanee Writers’ Conference. His recent poems have appeared in journals such as The Southern Review, Indiana Review, Kenyon Review Online, Poetry Northwest, and Salt Hill, as winner of the Philip Booth Poetry Prize. Originally from Cookeville, Tennessee, he works as a barista in Charlotte, North Carolina.