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Short Fiction
The Only Time There Is
by Jeff Worley

Price: $10.00
80 pages
trade paper
ISBN: 0922811229
LCCN #: 94-045204


I'm on my back, my calves
resting in metal stirrups.
My scrotum, shaved, hangs
like pink fruit in the man's
eyes, a man I've spoken to
once in my life.
When he spreads the cold blue
antiseptic gel over it and
says something almost too
soft to hear, something about
the fine weather, I think
of two men alone at 3 a.m.
passing along a subway platform,
the steady maddening drip
of water echoing. I think of
the odd, shy angle of their eyes
meeting in momentary
and necessary trust.
Now, the doctor is
telling me as softly as
a lover how I will feel,
as I watch the thin
yellow strips of the afternoon
waver and pulse on the far wall:
bee-sting of the needle,
the razor quick and bloodless
as a papercut.
But I am
already touching the scar
months from now, feeling it
disappear like a tiny hand
from the clear blue surface of a lake.

“Though it's the delicate, yet hard-edged love poems that I love best in this wonderful debut, there are pleasures here on every page.”—Stephen Dunn

“Worley begins a stunning collection with a line about how poetry finally arrives to the poet: ‘Five weeks without one good line / when every dog on the block /suddenly barks.’ Worley asks us to look afresh on the restrictions of time. His invitation is well worth accepting."—Booklist

“In language both tough and gentle, idiomatic and eloquent, Jeff Worley explores the disturbing undercurrents that surge beneath the surface of everyday life. This is an alluring and unforgettable first book.”—Ron Wallace

“The Only Time There Is is the work of a full-blown, confident man who has carefully seasoned his considerable talent. Jeff Worley's fidelity to his craft and poetic voice now rewards us with this fine and various volume full of poems on the enduring subjects—the living, the dead, and the human events that move us through our time.”—Paul Zimmer

“In his free verse Worley achieves the precision and economy of a diamond cutter.The result is a poetry as contemporary as cyberspace, as familiar as a family photograph and as accessible as the six-pack in the refrigerator.”—Lexington Herald-Leader

“Worley's assured voice and steady music belong to a poet mature beyond the ‘first book’ implications.The subtle crafting in the free and rhymed forms gives music to the clear, unaffected diction of every poem. Infused with self-irony and a generous spirit toward animals, humans and their artifacts, Worley's lyric and narrative poetry remains anchored in this world. Distinctive and memorable.”—Small Press Review

“Readers, you'll like this poet's perception, skill and wit.”—Minneapolis Star Tribune


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