A Poem by John Walser

John Walser

John Walser

John Walser, an associate professor of English at Marian University in Wisconsin, holds a doctorate in English and Creative Writing from the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee. His poems have appeared or are forthcoming in numerous journals, including Barrow Street, Nimrod, Spillway, The Pinch, december magazine, Naugatuck River Review, Fourth River, the Hiram Poetry Review, Gingko Tree Review, and Bird’s Thumb. He was a featured poet in September 2014 at Connotation Press: An Online Artifact. A Pushcart nominee as well as a semi-finalist for the 2013 Pablo Neruda Prize for Poetry, John is currently submitting three manuscripts of poetry for publication.


Despite the cigarette burn sky
     the covenant of ice

despite the frayed crocheted shadows, 
     the exposed lip of the sliced burlap sack
     stiffened around top of the root ball

despite the draughts in the walls
     the hypnosis clock that clicks
     in the other room

despite this morning’s thin arbor vitae 
     willow-bowed at its waist

despite the cherry pit buds 
     that we know were fooled by
     the weakest grey warm spell

we embrace the lying sun:

the afternoon thaw 
of heavy snow melt limp
cedar bough collapsing.

Our shortening shadows
believe the run-off, the slush.

Thirty-six degrees
is unzipped jacket jubilation.

Thirty-six degrees
is a crocus bulb shoot
breaking the top soil 
of our hibernation.