Bill Yarrow


He asked me to bury him in Vegas.
Instead, I had him cremated in Trenton.
But I did hang his dog tags on a high bough
of an alder tree outside the Frontier Hotel.
The last time I saw him was in an assisted-
living facility in Pennsauken. He stuck out
a wine dark tongue and punched me
in the chest. Poor one-eyed Uncle
Moscow—a fruit fly flew into his eyeball
and stuck there—then two hitchhikers
in his backseat hit him on the head
with a ball-peen hammer and stole his car.
He had a mind like a whorehouse martini,
but that doesn’t negate the leverage of his heart.


How many angels can dance on the head
of a circus pinhead? Divide that number
by three. Add that answer to all of the
stammering required to be a husband
in the 1980s. Reshuffle the cards you are
hiding under the table. In a spirit of cool
cooperation, reverse course and make
toward Islamorada. When you arrive, ask
the tobacconist for the hunter green letter
he’s holding for you. Memorize it and then
tear it to pieces. Do this with everything
you hold dear. Sure, the task is daunting
but it’s necessary. Apologize to your wife for
not knowing why. Add that to the sum above.


In sequent toil, my father quoted,
all forwards do contend, but I wasn’t
listening; I was staring at the waves
all green and gooey, all pommes frites,
ruinous, insolent, and half fractal,
sawing like insolvency, Swedishly
benevolent and Irishly violent,
in whose reflection I saw deciduous
shellfish nibbling at a fragrant net;
minnows winnowing a wave; sunfish
at worship, deliciously religious. “I’m
talking to you about your future!” he was
saying. Me? I was wondering about the smug,
land, the politics of weather, the insurgent sea.

Bill Yarrow is the author of WRENCH (erbacce-press, 2009) and "Wound Jewelry" (new aesthetic, 2010). His poems have appeared recently in BLIP, PANK, Poetry International, DIAGRAM, Magma Poetry, Ramshackle Review, LITSNACK, and Blue Fifth Review. He lives in Illinois.


  1. these are great poems, Bill. Thanks for the introduction EverydayGenius

  2. Thanks, Rick! I appreciate your commenting on the poems.