A Journal

"I'm going to come back to West Virginia when this is over. There's something ancient and deeply-rooted in my soul. I like to think that I have left my ghost up one of those hollows, and I'll never really be able to leave for good until I find it. And I don't want to look for it, because I might find it and have to leave".----Breece D'J Pancake, in a letter to his mother. 

William Cordeiro 

Meeting Place


A cool wind flatters every petal open;
smeared pollen-glop unsettles on the pond.
The moon’s lopsided slather rankles feverwort,
and I am prefaced by unguarded fields—

a rendezvous beyond parched hills and gaud
where leaves parse shadows as their colors prism.
Old scars betrayed in gnarled bark still join
remaining letters of each lover’s name

with luckless ones who ventured to this clearing. 
I wait here near the meadow, sedge grass licking
at my heels. A prison’s aimless, wind-tossed limbs:
the loins of trees will bare themselves come fall. 

While disco-balls of seed-heads go to waste, 
I taste the air’s bright mist. I’m quickened, young.
The crick now spilling thick on stony runnels,
I look through margins whether others lurk. 

Sometimes the far wolves howl. Sometimes
a nestled barn owl questions who I am.
I listen—listen where the glimmers stir
as crickets fiddle and the summer wanes.


One of my favorite souvenirs is a black T-shirt with a hot pink and sparkly silver lucha libre mask on it, which I purchased in Ciudad Juarez while on a road-trip many years ago. There was really no reason for my friend and I to cross the border, especially considering the notorious crime rate of Juarez. Something about the gaudiness of the image on the T-shirt conjures up that freewheeling summer—my first visit to the Southwest, where I now live. The mask resembles, perhaps, the open face of possibility, a new identity, and a bright new skin, as well as a skin peeled away, a hollow-eyed monster, and a deathly skull. Such ambiguity captures the feelings of transition during that time in my life.

Will Cordeiro received his MFA and Ph.D. from Cornell University. His work appears or is forthcoming in BOAATCopper NickelCortland ReviewCrab Orchard ReviewCutBank Online, Drunken BoatFourteen Hills, Harpur Palate, New Madrid, PhoebeStonecoast Review, and elsewhere. He is grateful for a scholarship from the Sewanee Writers’ Conference and a Truman Capote Writer’s Fellowship as well as residencies from ART 342, Blue Mountain Center, Ora Lerman Trust, Petrified Forest National Park, and Risley AIR at Cornell University. He lives in Flagstaff, Arizona, where he is a faculty member in the Honors Program at Northern Arizona University.