Judith Skillman

by Best Poem

The Never

They lie in separate rooms while the moon
spills its light across naked limbs of trees.
A fake owl poses in the yard next door-
those yellow eyes she saw and thought
it was a Great Horned Owl. The never
comes in spurts, like wings across the kitchen
skylight cutting her off from him
during the day. Never takes the form of snoring
at night. It’s not that never belongs
to no one else. Practically anyone
could be happy under the sentence of moon
on gravel, moon on frost, moonlight
on fake owl perched in a willow.
Perhaps the moon is birch wood, she thinks,
and it was part of the never before this never.
Maybe the wings are obsidian and covered
the skylight when a piece of the Kuiper Belt
exploded above their house. Inside she feels
a bit like never. Likes the sound of mingling
with folks that might live there. Likes the fake owl,
who never asks who.

Judith Skillman’s tenth book “Heat Lightning, New and Selected Poems 1986-2006, ” was published by Silverfish Review Press. “The Carnival of All or Nothing” was a finalist in the American Poetry Journal contest and is forthcoming from Cervéna Barva Press. Skillman is the recipient of awards from the Academy of American Poets, The King County Arts Commission, and the Washington State Arts Commission. Her work has been nominated for a Pushcart Prize, and she has completed residencies at Centrum and Hedgebrook Cottages for Women. Her poems have appeared in Poetry, FIELD, JAMA (Journal of the American Medical Association), The Iowa Review, Northwest Review, The Southern Review, and many other journals. An educator, editor, and translator, Judith lives with her husband in Kennydale, Washington. Please see www.judithskillman.com for more information.

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