Donald Zirilli was a finalist for the James Tate Prize and a nominee for
Best of the Net and the Forward Prize. He edited Now Culture and is on
the board of Red Wheelbarrow Poets, Inc. His poetry was published in
The 2River View, Anti- poetry magazine, ART TIMES, Nerve Lantern, River
, and other periodicals and anthologies. His chapbook, Heaven's Not
For You
, was published in Sep. 2018, by Kelsay Books.


The tiny frown in my rearview mirror;
the car weaving up ahead; a wind
raising fallen leaves and the anger
in that reversal; the refusal of an old barn
to lie down in the tall grass;
the spider waiting in my windshield wiper
for me to stop so she can weave;
my thought of her thoughts of my thinking;
my thinking of her thoughts; a cloud
losing shapes.

Teaching the Dog to Write

The lawn is her crumpled up page.
In the fine type of footnotes
old run-ons are written.

She heads for the margins,
scrawls a comment,
and begs to end the lesson.

An antecedent grief
hides in her throat,
echoing in parentheses.

The Night Supervisor of the Clipping Library at the New York Times

My father the great beauty
about whom it was said
he looked at you
like a bare bulb
still hot from being light.

My father the brick,
my father the clock,
a way of counting.

My father the newspaperman
in the lobby of the pinnacle
of freedom, finishing
an awkward joke with security.

selah, int.,

from the Hebrew selah, meaning meaning,
from the Semitic slah, meaning mean, lowly,
from the Afro-Asiatic sah, meaning under,
as a support, as a bridge, as a floor, as a stage,
as gravel, as dirt, as earth, as time upon which
all paths walk, meaning of mean mien, allowing
for ascension of the other, reification, as when
the thorn is removed from the lion's foot, as when
Caesar is surrounded and stabbed, apotheosis,
thrombosis, as threshold, as gate, closed or
open upon, as sallying from the selah door
to survey the lowly, the mean, the foundation,
all that is left of the house, the home, the life,
the dog, the collection of Playboy magazines,
some from the sixties, the photographs of long-ago
childhoods, some appearing folded and faded
in flea markets and auction box lots, belonging
not to the selah and therefore not to the buyer,
beware the loss of selah, the selah of loss.

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