Feature image by Satoshi Morita. Wool, acrylic, cotton yarns, cotton. Photograph by Atelier Yamanami. © Satoshi Morita.

We had been asked to piece together the conspiracy using only wool.
Wool blankets. Wool scarves. Wool pajamas. Government-issued wool.
Laid out end to end. And fitted to each other. Sometimes sewn together.
Some places overlapping. Or piling up.
What do you listen for in a conspiracy?
What do you hear when you’re wrapped in wool, laid to rest in wool bedding?

It was suffocating. A wool blanket is suffocating if you’re using it correctly.
Try more than one.
Try sleeping with a wool blanket that was cut out to look like arms and legs.
Try living beneath her. Or it. Or them.
All the wool blankets tied up so they hang from the sky.
A wool blanket sky. A night can be suffocating. Too many arms in bed with you.
When is the day? What makes day start?
There are nights in Florida and Texas that are heavier than the day.
A wool blanket is still heavier.
And it’s hard when you’re breathing in there.

For everyone involved. A wool blanket does not have emotions. It does not register
I hated 1991.
I was living in Florida. There’s nothing in Florida.
Many species of heron are native to Florida, but herons don’t move.
There is lightning. What does a wool blanket do with lightning? It makes cynicism.
Sometimes it rains.
We were basically being led straight into the 21st Century.

It’s hard to have friends in the 21st Century.
Everything I own is made from wool. And connected together. Maybe I love wool.
A wool staircase is so practical. It supposedly breathes. Wool suits at Sears department stores.
Wool livery, if I owned horses.
Wool lining the cups I use for my coffee.
What makes day start? What a question. The wool is repeating itself. Perhaps that’s
how answering works.

Kent Shaw

Kent Shaw’s first book, Calenturewas published by the University of Tampa Press. His poems have appeared in The Believer, Ploughshares, PEN American, and other magazines. He is an assistant professor at West Virginia State University.