The House That Jack Built by Wayne Johns

(for Rodney Jack)
a kiss a fist it went like this
an eye a rose a nose that bled
a word a line an antipsalm
that died too soon yet went
too long a broken merry-
go-round ride a slow
and sudden suicide a last
attempt that went like this
a ruse a loss a hothouse
bloom that won’t survive
outside these walls in wind
that blows the curtains loose
inside the house the lice the louse
that hides and feeds on us is me
Wayne Johns’ first book of poems, Antipsalm, received the Editor’s Choice prize in Unicorn Press’ First Book Series and Honorable Mention for the 2019 Brockman-Campbell Award, given for the best book published by a NC native or current resident. He is also the author of The Exclusion Zone which received the Rane Arroyo chapbook prize from Seven Kitchens Press. His poems have appeared in Best New Poets, Poetry Daily, Verse Daily, New England Review, Ploughshares, Image, and Prairie Schooner, among others. A former Lambda Literary Fellow in fiction, and Kingsbury Fellow at Florida State University, he is currently a poetry editor for The Adroit Journal.