Adam Chiles


My father sliced the onion
in two, and we sat, each lifting

our half-moon. He took a bite,
then another—as though

it was fruit—tasting the raw
sting of it, that temper

of white flesh, the car then
full of heat and ozone.

And now a little stilton, he said,
smiling at me, doubling

down on the odor. The sea
stretched out in front of us.

Afterwards, he dozed, the car
windows slowly glazing

as I walked the edges
of the cliff, young still, the aftertaste

of what we’d eaten, its sharpness
living on my breath.

Adam Chiles

is the author of Evening Land (Cinnamon Press), nominated for the 2009 Gerald Lampert Memorial Award for best debut collection in Canada. His work has been anthologized in Best New Poets and has appeared in such journals as Barrow Street, Blackbird, Beloit Poetry Journal, Cimarron Review, Copper Nickel, Gulf Coast, and Indiana Review. He is professor of English and creative writing at Northern Virginia Community College.