Moving Men
Joan Colby

January 14, 2014


Shouldering your past
packed in cartons, the crystal flutes
of your first love racked
in sawdust, the mattress where you slept
and fucked skewed through a doorway
too narrow for love, a dresser mule-backed
up a staircase, empty drawers rattling
with recollections, bright gems
of accomplishment, the wornout underwear
you laundered to regrets. See how the piano
is hoisted skyward, ivories of scales
practiced until your fingers
echoed with assurance. The dolly
sliding beneath the history of rewrites,
heaviness of those misremembered
stories, told and retold.

Days of muscle and sweat. You watch
the truck back out of the drive. Stow
everything that is left, an inventory
of tomorrows.


Joan Colby has published widely in journals such as Poetry, Atlanta Review, South Dakota Review, The Spoon River Poetry Review, New York Quarterly, the new renaissance, Grand Street, Epoch, and Prairie Schooner. Awards include two Illinois Arts Council Literary Awards, Rhino Poetry Award, the new renaissance Award for Poetry, and an Illinois Arts Council Fellowship in Literature. She was a finalist in the GSU Poetry Contest (2007), Nimrod International Pablo Neruda Prize (2009, 2012), and received honorable mentions in the North American Review’s James Hearst Poetry Contest (2008, 2010). She is the editor of Illinois Racing News, and lives on a small horse farm in Northern Illinois. She has published 11 books including The Lonely Hearts KillersThe Atrocity Bookand her newest books from Future Cycle Press—Dead Horses and Selected Poems, recipient of the 2013 FutureCycle Prize. A chapbook, Bittersweet is forthcoming from Main Street Rag Press in 2014.

What motivates her to create:
“I have been writing since I was a child and began publishing poems in my early twenties. I suppose a love of reading contributes to a desire to write. My poems often start with a visual image, an idea, or sometimes a few words. I don’t always know where a poem is going when I begin it. The best poems are those that reveal something heretofore unsuspected to me—and I hope, to the reader.”