Corey Mesler


Witch Philosophy

“Naïve people know nothing of the One Inside Who Doesn’t Wish You Well, and think that their enemies are all in the outside world.”

–Robert Bly


She said, all spells have curative
powers but all spells
have side effects, too, like
preternatural pills.
She said, find a still place.
Spells work in stillness.
Stillness is a spell.
And the sickness you want cured
perhaps should not be cured.
Suffering can be alleviated, she said.
But sickness is sometimes
binding, requisite; sickness is sometimes
a spell itself. The gods
are not doctors. She said, concentrate
your mind. Let the spell
be the thing your heart reads, the
stillness, the instructive infection.


Christmas Eve, 2009

It’s Christmas Eve, 2009,
and I am listening to Dylan
sing about the night
falling from the sky.
It’s Christmas Eve, 2009,
and I am thinking about
my father dead now
eight years, eight years
ago on December 21st
he passed without me there.
Because I have agoraphobia.
Because I have something
vile inside me, something
destructive. But, today,
Christmas Eve, 2009, I am
also thinking about my
daughter whose enthusiasm for
the holiday is expansive
like the sun. The sun has not
made an appearance today.
We have grey; we have rain.
We have the calm of dreaming trees.
On this day before the day
I pray quietly here on the keys:
Let me take part. Let me
garner a germ of Chloe’s faith.
Let me see it all come down,
like the night falling from the sky.


Chloe Blooming

While my daughter sleeps
her head is filling with fervor.
She walks into the day,
fearless as the wind at sea.
Her enthusiasm for most things
shames my simple gloom.
Her voice can honey my antipathy.
Her voice can call me back,
crawling like a man who believes
he can still walk erect, that kind of ape.
I follow her, torn between parenting
and learning, between monkey and god.


Corey Mesler has published in numerous journals and anthologies. As well as receiving many honors for short work, he has published two novels, Talk: A Novel in Dialogue (2002) and We Are Billion-Year-Old Carbon (2006), a full length poetry collection, Some Identity Problems (2008), and a book of short stories, Listen: 29 Short Conversations (2009). Two new novels will be released March 31, 2010: The Ballad of the Two Tom Mores (Bronx River Press) and Following Richard Brautigan (Livingston Press). With his wife, he runs Burke’s Book Store, one of the country’s oldest and best independent bookstores. He can be found at