Judith Skillman

A lawn unmowed, the long morning’s inflammation
now scattered across grass in clover, an inflammation

propagated by perennial creeping to process nitrogen.
White to pale pink heads—globed balls, inflammation’s

hallmark. These slightly egg-shaped flowers seen 
as clusters—like last night’s stars, the reds of inflamed

Mars, its planet face unblinking during arguments
between man and wife. How long will inflammation

persist, seed its own species in the body, in the spine’s
swaybacked valley? Pockets of fluid—inflammation’s

hallmark—between disc and nerve, disc and muscled regions,
until the wife can no longer distinguish her inflamed

senses from sarcastic remarks thrown into conversation
at random, as if to spice a dish. All hate is inflammation

doubled, tripled, quadrupled in the mind’s eye, a revision
of what God intended the human body to be. Inflammation—

come from living out, outliving love. Love, inflammation,
what’s the difference? I’m all and only my own inflammation.


JUDITH SKILLMAN’s  new book is House of Burnt Offerings from Pleasure Boat Studio. The author of fifteen collections of poetry, her work has appeared in Tampa Review, Prairie Schooner, FIELD, The Iowa Review, and other journals. Judith became addicted to Ghazals after taking Carolyne Wright’s class at the Richard Hugo House in Seattle. The course was based on the textRavishing DisUnities (Agha Shahid Ali, editor, Wesleyan Press, 2000). Visit