Photo by Joshua Band.

by Nathan Wisman

Your one, your only,
that grinning face.

For you, the cold dew
smears his arms.
The thickets of shivering weeds
part around his determined body.

Strips of cloudy sky traversed again and again
by the sun.
It is never warm enough.
Strips of pinpricked black tread upon again and again
by some moon.
The wait for an echo becoming impossibly long.

Burrs do not stick to wetness.
Turn your shivering back.
Because to burrs, wetness
means death.
Grasping for you, along the hedgerows.

Echelons of rings surrounded again and again
by echelons of rings.
All so artificial.
Squads of leaves piling upward again and again
by shoving winds.
The tree’s rocking impossibly slow.

Tendrils of steam rise from beneath steel lids.
Feel lumps beneath your skin.
Because to steam, rising
is all there is.
Reaching upwards to you, from limestone basins.

A soulmate, a lover,
your ultimate, your final,
those hands tangling endlessly.

Nathan Wisman lives in San Francisco, California where he writes in a number of mediums and imagines he has a cat named Fitzgerald. His favorite authors include Cormac McCarthy and Bret Easton Ellis, and he strongly encourages you to read Catch-22 and Eating Animals.

Editor’s Note: Sometimes there is an “it” factor in poetry. That inexplicable dust that shimmers over a poem. Natural raw talent apparent from the words and equally from between them. The work of today’s poet strikes me in such a way, and my personal poetic landscape has been forever altered by the words “to steam, rising is all there is.”


  1. I have always been a big fan of Nathan Wisman’s poetry. The same structural components that I admire in this poem — the telling of two parallel stories within one piece, as well as the use of beautiful imagery that makes you feel you know the moment, not just see it — are also present in my all-time favorite poem by Nathan, “Splinters Migrating Through Skin.”


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