Old Wineskin by Michael Julian Arnett

Androgynous nomads sloughing

through black desert sand.

Moon-dreamt and hollow, purveying

mendicant vastness until sleep

settles with incantatory sighs.


Too much wine already; I’m sick to death.

You’ve only seen me take one sip

but trust me, I’ve had my fill already

and my joints are sore and sighing.

Was that a life is a dream? I don’t know.


My life is older than my measured years;

It’s enough to make me believe

in the eternal journey of the soul,

enough to make me believe

in a soul itself, the pinpoint seat of

a thousand misshapen reflections

forever walking into a veiled distance,


shedding body after body, life after life

until it reaches its end and center,

vast and formless as the evening sky.


How vast the cast of atonement

when mixed with anxious

peregrinations. Salut, a monde!

and get thee to a nunnery. Listen:

those cookies aren’t for you.



Michael Julian Arnett’s work has appeared in The April Reader, Harlequin Creature, Haiku Journal, and Halfbaked Journal. He is currently working on an MFA in Writing at Pacific University of Oregon. He lives in Northern California.