corey mesler


Just outside the back door
a basil plant
dreams in its new pot,
a gift
from my friend, Sue. It ex-
hales when
I inhale. It knows the inside
of me, the
part that believes in growth.

Poem for Amanda Kallen

Your skin like apple-white,
your eyes like
the thing in nature that goes.
Today it’s a pictogram
I want to save
because there is a thing in
nature that goes.
I want to save it
and I want the sky to
caress me as if
it were your apple-white skin.

Walking on God’s Good Side

O rarely will the thing you most
need rise to your hand.
O rarely will your love come to
you on your darkest day
with the precise counter-spell. O,
friend, why do you sit
and wait for the bell? Rise now
and open the drapes. The
man or woman outside has a
word for you. It’s only a word to
start the conversation. But O,
friend, you too are made of earth.
Alike, you are made of breath, too.

Corey Mesler has published in numerous journals and anthologies. He has published five novels, including Talk: A Novel in Dialogue (2002), We Are Billion-Year-Old Carbon (2006), and Gardner Remembers (2011), as well as two full length poetry collections and three books of short stories. He has also published a dozen chapbooks of both poetry and prose, and been nominated for the Pushcart Prize numerous times; two of his poems have been chosen for Garrison Keillor’s Writer’s Almanac. With his wife, he runs Burke’s Book Store in Memphis TN, one of the country’s oldest (1875) independent bookstores. He can be found at