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A Poem By Michael Juliani

A Cardinal Flame Went Out in My Mouth

October is a self-loathing month.
Masturbating in the first
dark cold.

You are not American
in the sense of being dead,
waiting to kill the mouse
that rarely leaves its hole.

Douglas firs drip white lights
in the Polish park—
playground of gargoyles,
coffee cups, vodka.

The river turns itself
like laundry
down the knoll.

You wake because the lunar mist
that put you to sleep
permeates the room,

a blaze of sun crossing
the water like a floor
of wet paint.

The woman
wearing your t-shirt
mumbles the Serenity Prayer
as if scraping plaque
from your dreams.

The kitchen stinks.
The open window builds
a statue of cold
around the burners.

Michael Juliani


Michael Juliani is a poet, editor, and journalist from Pasadena, California. His work has appeared or is forthcoming in outlets such as BOMB, The Adirondack Review, the Los Angeles Times, The Conversant, Truthdig, and the Huffington Post. The editor of three books by the filmmaker and photographer Harun Mehmedinovic, he earned a BA in Print & Digital Journalism from the University of Southern California and an MFA in poetry from Columbia University. He lives in New York City.

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