Understanding by Samuel Willhalm

The middle shelf

is where I keep

the glasses.

Can we quantify this living –

the way gravel rolls

against our heels?

To be something we like when dressed

in a starched shirt. The small morning.

I picked it up again–

being alive that is.

You bite the crown

of an ice cream cone

just below the moon.

I shave my soft head.

Warmth curls


around it.

My lip has split open.

The hallway lights pause when

I blink myself awake. Your towering

irises. I say don’t make me do it,

just as you wrap the towel

around me and the vapor

from the shower

lowers into the bedroom

where the sun is.




Samuel Willhalm is an MFA student at Portland State University. His poetry has been published in the Redlands Review. Samuel currently lives in Portland with his girlfriend and pet python, Douglas.