Joshua Michael Stewart

Troy, New York

He reads her a poem about a horse dying of loneliness, and like her, he knows this horse. It happens as the last fork clanks against the blue plate next to the untouched lima beans. She crawls inside her closet with two coffee mugs filled with ice and pours vodka in them from a bottle she keeps stashed in one of her winter boots. She tells her babies it’s just water.

He follows her out into the backyard. They crouch down behind the tool shed, their faces milky-blue in moonlight. They listen to the swishing of cars, watch headlights slice between houses. The cherry of the joint they share floats back and forth in darkness, a confused bug.

Back in the house she giggles when he pulls down his corduroys, she adores the kittens checkering his boxers. Her bra’s pink. He prefers it kicked underneath the bedsprings—bedsprings that shoot yes, yes, yes, through the house like Morse code, so they layer blankets and pillows on the floor. Each time they connect and pull away, their bellies make the sound of a sticker peeled from its backing. Her breath on his lips is butter melting in a flame-bathed skillet. With limbs tangled and coiled like cobras in a woven basket, they dream themselves unearthed, lost artifacts of an ancient city, Thebes or Babylon. They even consider Pompeii with its raining ash forever entombing them in an embrace.


Joshua Michael Stewart poems have been published in Massachusetts Review, Rattle, Georgetown Review, William and Mary Review, Flint Hills Review, Pedestal Magazine, Evansville Review and Worcester Review. Pudding House Publications published his Chapbook Vintage Gray in 2007. Visit him at