Now the land is all eyes

Our poor
take off
their hats.

Our dead
stay dead.

There are precedents.
And progeny.

In the mist
of certain mornings

or at the feet of
the swinging dying

you can pretend
this world is anything

until it is
beautiful again.

They Will Kill You Slowly, They Will Take Their Time

When you come to you are in a makeshift
submarine built entirely of buckets
held together by melded teeth, held down
like a turtle shell as you walk the surface
of a great lake bottom with three others
stepping on the bones of old battles,
sharing the intimate air. You'll want
to find another coast but when you surface
and the light hits you the whole town
is standing on the beach looking curious.
You won't remember how you got there
or who these people are or what keeps
rattling in your pockets. You will want to wave
as is your custom. You will want
to show them your wrinkled hands.

Jeff Whitney is a co-founding editor of Peel Press and the author of four chapbooks, two of which are forthcoming from Thrush Press and Phantom Limb. A graduate of the University of Montana's MFA program, recent poems can be found in burntdistrict, Devil's Lake, Salt Hill, Sugar House Review, and Verse Daily. He lives in Portland, where he teaches ESL.