Terence Winch


It is raining at the beach

and the deer hide behind the hedges

in the soundproof arbor.  The dog stares

up at you in wonder.  The car

is stuffed with pillows and blankets.

If the journey is the destination,

and we are on the road not taken,

does that mean that we are always

moving and never getting there or

completely still and exactly where we belong?


Splintering Off

There are two worlds, contentment and desire.

One burns cigarette holes in your best shirt

the other substitutes habit for anxiety.

That is the dilemma, anyway: to hold on or let go.

Waiting for the mail to arrive, for new movies

for the last word, we stir time in a big pot sitting

on the stove cooking slowly.  Waiting for love to

simmer, everything ready at the right moment.

All the glass and wood have been dug out of our

bodies.  It’s okay to stay home and miss the dance.


Art School

We are looking into the face of the day

as the words fall off the professors

and splash into pools of bright colors

and splatter us with images of things

we cannot name and never come to know


And that’s just the start.  Later, our strange

and simple thoughts seem to swim in a sea

of black-and-white nudes, piling up in

every corner, behind every curtain, whispering

salty secrets of another history in another life


Cabbage & Jam

Between word and meaning, the land

rolls down beyond the hidden arbor

where the clothesline waits in secret

where the cousins line up for the quiz

show and Lotto, where I sit by the phone

and computer expecting any minute

to hear from you, somewhere off

the grid, maybe sick, maybe blue,

how should I know? I just need for you

to call me, baby, and help to see me through



Journeys cut me off from you.

I come from another era but arrive in your zip code.

I never go away and leave you without food

such as chocolate-covered strawberries.

If only, you say.  If only, I say back to you.

The truth was just here a minute ago

full of an argument that has now been set free,

as were we. What went wrong: nothing went wrong.

I always fall in love with you in June.

It’s in the stars, in the script, on the fridge.


Coexistence Agreement

You go to bed too early, I go too late.

Sometimes we slip on the ice in the cold night.

We slip on the ice and fall.  We come home

in the freezing rain and take a pill for our pain.

New car, new tune, new scholarship,

new t.v., new sugar bowl, new brain changes

at work.  Crises can strike at any age

but resilience always takes an encore.

We seek out encrypted meanings in our life

together, this attachment tough as tree bark.

Terence Winch’s latest book, That Ship Has Sailed, was published in 2023 as part of the Pitt Poetry Series from the University of Pittsburgh Press. A Columbia Book Award and American Book Award winner, he is the author of eight earlier poetry collections. He has also written a young adult novel called Seeing-Eye Boy and two story collections, Contenders and That Special Place. His work has appeared in many journals and in more than 50 anthologies, among them the Oxford Book of American Poetry, Poetry 180, and 6 editions of Best American Poetry. He is the recipient of an NEA Poetry Fellowship and a Gertrude Stein Award for Innovative Writing, among other honors. He has also played, written, and recorded traditional Irish music all his life. The works featured here are from his forthcoming book of occasional love poems, each ten lines long, called It Is as If Desire, due in 2024 from Hanging Loose Press.

Share via
Copy link
Powered by Social Snap