SPOTLIGHT: When is a Will by Josh A. Brewer

When things are good and vague
Where she stays for a time, who isn’t snow?
Why do pack mules stumble, and how
couldn’t Abstraction finish the job Under budget.
What the flicker?
Just night, no sight or sound

Dying Mantis

This has nothing to do with a mantis
praying, nor dying,

except she was kneeling,
doing a little sidestep, eyes round, reflecting,

raising your abdomen with a bent thorax
and shaking your curled left legs.

Look—she became you.
Transmigrated I suppose.

I moved the blue bucket
to block the sun—watched you writhe,
turn brown as the porch,
leafy green wings still.

Later I watered you
as if you were a plant.

You moved a bit
lifting her bald head one last time.


I hear the drip and steam,
Roll over on the bed’s empty pillows,
Rise to pour a mugful.

You have taken the grounds down to the garden,
Mixed them with last night’s green onions and garlic, mustard
and old eggshells,
Forked them again and turned them and bent to the smell.

When I place talismans

In the sock drawer,
Not believing in saints
Or shrines,

I do not display a picture
That I took with a disposable camera
When you told me you would die.

No lock of your hair, no wedding ring.
Nor What I Cut
From your big toe:
A half-moon you could not reach


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