St. Inside & Not by Aaron Coleman


Being tornado, being wind-stuck,
Being swamp-swallowed and forgotten, being
Gangster-gone-ghost. Being leaking
And prohibited. Being rugged
Smirk and gut exposed, stone church
Roof removed, ivy-spindled throat. Being
Forever-far from coasts. Being echo clang and
Shale-sick grease rag. Being trundled down
The conveyor belt the wound wound river being
Time-tight, squeezing and seething
And flooding. Being burnheart and holy
Jelly Roll squall and squalor and
Ma called squaw battered in missing
Shame-laden eyes. Being missed and called
Katherine, surname Jaji, being turned into
Translation, being an altar praying God save
Me in a language I’ll never know. Being
Bit-nickel never trusted, being
Runaway sharecropper castrated, blown
Away in pieces in hand-licked heavy
Envelopes. Being You missed
A big, fiery one. Wish you were
Being midnight ripped
Off the face of constellation. Being
The whiskey shattered in the body
Before the brandished bottle.

Aaron Coleman is from Metro-Detroit, a Fulbright Scholar, and a graduate of Kalamazoo College in Psychology. Aaron has lived and taught poetry in locations including Kalamazoo, Chicago, Spain, and South Africa. He is currently a Chancellor’s Graduate Fellow in the Creative Writing Program at Washington University in St. Louis.