I left a season of forwarding addresses
for the Midwest. I had a bad heart,

mis-ticking like a broken Timex, clots
of last May stuck in its crown–the fluid

around my left ventricle was where whiskey went
to keep me company.

I think I hold onto the wrong things.

I ran a ballpoint over my sternum, nurses talk
electrocardiogram pentameter and ACE inhibitors.

My hospital room contracted its ribs.
Wading in the deep end of Knob Creek,

I had forgotten how eyelashes flutter
like blackbirds

or how a dead leaf can be removed from
my shoulder like the weight of loneliness.

Here, now, in the land of Lincoln, surrounded by faceless
days I could count on one hand, I didn’t even notice

how the hours bend like a weeping willow canopy
at my bedside, counting the syllables of my pulse.


Jim Warner’s poetry has appeared or is forthcoming in various journals including The North American Review[PANK] MagazineFive QuarterlyThe Minnesota Review, and is the author of two collections Too Bad It’s Poetry and Social Studies (PaperKite Press). Currently, Jim is the Managing Editor of Quiddity housed at Benedictine University in Springfield, IL and writes the weekly column “Best Worst Year” for Sundog Lit.




Jim Warner
Jim Warner’s poetry has appeared in various journals including The North American Review, RHINO Poetry, New South, and he is the author of two collections (PaperKite Press). His latest book, actual miles, will be released in 2017 by Sundress Publications. Jim is the host of the literary podcast Citizen Lit and is a faculty member of Arcadia University’s MFA program.