An Online Literature and Art Journal

In a House of Dying Men

In a house of dying men

some present as broken nails

cut to the quick too tender for touch

who sit more collapsed than breathing

slumped to elbows in armchairs their electricity

barely recalled behind sandbagged eyes

More water than bone more bone than heart

While others call back from years left in ash

To promise a place where dogs run

tongue out

Where Denali hulks above rivers cutting

themselves smaller each year in letters unopened

And England waits while Boston waits while she waits

To do anything more than study how to grieve

for the chance to be little again


In this house of dying men

she studies the clockwork universe to the sound of

breaking gears, cracked levers, searches for

flights and traces her fingertip down the pink veins

of highways that lead away and always away because

there is only passing left now

More to come who will stroke the arch

of her neck which will bend her to

prayers that one day there will be

Lightning outside therum love without

signals transmitted through

a cosmos in decline  and

the chance one day she will open a door

and know a home with no future

to map, retrace, ache for

what might come, is coming, will pass

until these dying men, these ghosts leave

let her step across smoke in the

echoing broken instruments of Heaven and

cast out the spirits of split lips and tearful offerings

covering hushed might-bes leaked from

the dry tongues of dying men




Michael Wayne Hampton¬† is the author of three books, and his work has appeared in numerous publications such as The Southeast Review, McSweeney’s, and Atticus Review. He can be reached via his website or on Twitter at @motelheartache.