The Dark Clock – by Corey Mesler

“There’s a man going round taking names.” –Leadbelly

The clock in my heart tells me
it’s time to bleed. I have
one good arm but still
desire to box, to cuff the man
I once was. There is
cruelty in the way the flesh dips
toward midnight, a guttering
candle behind the eyes. Yesterday
I took Miranda into the
dark room and undressed her like
a saint. She told me that two
arms were too many, anyway, but
I lost her when the shade was
raised. In the light none of us
are what we want to be. None
of us have lost the memory of a
self that once walked the world with
a panther on a leash. I recite
the prayer I was taught by the
man who said he was my father: Father,
let me be the person you believe I
can be. Let me be the last to understand.


Corey Mesler has been published in numerous anthologies and journals including Poetry, Gargoyle, Five Points, Good Poems American Places, and New Stories from the South. He has published 9 novels, 4 short story collections, 5 full-length poetry collections, and a dozen chapbooks. His novel, Memphis Movie, attracted kind words from Ann Beattie, Peter Coyote, and William Hjorstberg, among others. He’s been nominated for the Pushcart many times, and 2 of his poems were chosen for Garrison Keillor’s Writer’s Almanac. With his wife he runs a 142 year-old bookstore in Memphis. He can be found at