Jake Bailey

The Long Tooth of the Night

The long tooth extends into the night,
a sickled hook brooding over storms of another day.

A mouth can only consume what fits inside of being alone.
A mouth can only consume what fits inside of being a stone.

A single star peels back the night, soft beam reaching a trillion miles
across a void as deep as a promise, as far as an apology waiting
on unmoving lips. Hits the iris, transmutes into electricity purring
inside a skull. Waiting for a signal that will tether an apex
to everything that slithers on the ground.

On the other side of the Earth, a man walks in a circle,
whispering ancient incantations meant to clear the space between.
He meanders this way and that, slowly placing one foot in front of another,
counting each step toward something we can understand,
a way of peeling back the night.

A trillion miles away, a woman slowly rocks her child to sleep,
the sound of breathing becoming prayer. She looks up at the sky
and sees a single star flicker into substance as solid as a ghost.
If she sent her child to alterity, to the separation of bodies
in nothingness, no light could outpace her love, replacing gravity
with two sets of ribs rising and lowering in unison, a singularity
more concentrated than the beginning of a universe.

Around the distant star, a lover traces words into the back of the beloved,
ancient incantations meant to clear the space between. They fall asleep
beneath a sheet harboring a thousand points of light.

The long tooth extends into night, its pearlescent white hungrily waiting
for anything to sink into, a limb, a laugh, a love.

A mouth can only consume what fits inside of being alone.

But, tonight,
the stars come out as if for the first time.
An owl calls in the distance.
A wolf roams the woods in search of its pack.
All the color of the worlds contracts into prism,
becoming one breath.
One chest rising and lowering in prayer,
walking in circles, calling in the distance
for a hand in the storm.



Jake Bailey is a schiZotypal experientialist with published or forthcoming work in The American Journal of Poetry, Constellations, Cream City Review, Hunger Mountain, The Laurel Review, Mid-American Review, Palette Poetry, PANK Magazine, Passages North, Storm Cellar, TAB: A Journal of Poetry & Poetics, and elsewhere. Jake received his MFA from Antioch University, Los Angeles and lives in Illinois with his wife and their three dogs. Find him on Twitter @SaintJakeowitz and at saintjakeowitz.wordpress.com