Cancer’s a Far-Off Tree (Thank You, David Berman),

sure, till one

day you come to beneath it

surrounded by Pacific, somehow

there are buzzards, and you know you are trapped

in a poem or at least the mosquito

synapse flicker it started as. Maybe you are 

the personal assistant 

dabbing a final pearl from the razor

cheekbones of a porn star. The porn star,

thinking a bead of dew

she saw on a leaf as a girl,

still a girl. There’s a shimmer above the creek

some say is the devil sleeping, some

methane escaping a body

smaller bodies worship. With age

perspective deepens, seeps into the slender

air between fractals. An old man

thumbing a spot of clay from his grandson’s face

answers his younger self

who boards a plane, asking

how long till we start to grow smaller?

JOSH RUFFIN has held jobs as a trail crew worker, radio producer, peach picker, and ineffectual bouncer. He received his MFA in poetry from Georgia College & State University, where he also briefly taught. Joshua has twice been nominated for the Pushcart Prize, and his poems have appeared in Poetry South, Post Road, Booth, The Sierra Nevada Review, and elsewhere. He lives in Madison, Wisconsin, where he sells and drinks excellent Belgian beer.

The Adirondack Review