Centruroides exilicauda

Bark scorpion

Joshua Marie Wilkinson



Poem for a Bark Scorpion


Threader of quasi-

tentacular horrors

neither reticulate

nor fanged.


Just an unapposed claw

to steady a friend

& lower a pushpin

into easy conversation.


I palm you in a dream

to study that

little phantom lime

spittle of what’s awake for

not much longer.


Your cantilevered strike

almost feathery, almost

childish dawdling

or snakey from behind

listing to sting in.


But it’s your mummy claw

holding a warm stranger still

that rings me up in the night.




Joshua Marie Wilkinson is the author of five books of poetry, the editor of two anthologies, the director of a movie about Califone, and he teaches at The University of Arizona. Two new books, Swamp Isthmus and The Courier's Archive & Hymnal, are forthcoming.