Begin redacting. Blacking out
Until what’s left is cryptic
With knowledge only you can
Penetrate. Choreographer of
Significance. The words pirouette
At the barre. Lozenges like
Coffins of those shipped to black
Sites. Waterboarded testimonies like poems
Of forced rendition. Middle of the night
Transports. What is unsaid
Might be guessed in context
The way a head nod is understood
As confirmation. All surmise and
Indirection. The bar sinister,
Badge of the flicker
Stalking the underearth
Ambition of worms.

Selected byJordan Trethewey
Image credit:Gez Xavier Mansfield

Joan Colby published widely in journals such as Poetry, Atlanta Review, South Dakota Review, Gargoyle, Pinyon, Little Patuxent Review, Spillway, Midwestern Gothic, and others. Awards included two Illinois Arts Council Literary Awards and an Illinois Arts Council Fellowship in Literature. She published 21 books, including  Selected Poems, from FutureCycle Press, which received the 2013 FutureCycle Prize, and Ribcage, from Glass Lyre Press, which was awarded the 2015 Kithara Book Prize. Three of her poems were featured on Verse Daily and another was among the winners of the 2016 Atlanta Review International Poetry Contest. Her latest books were Carnival, from  FutureCycle Press, The Seven Heavenly Virtues, from Kelsay Books, and Her Heartsongs, from Presa Press.  Colby was a senior editor of FutureCycle Press and an associate editor of Good Works Review.

Joan Colby died on August 18, 2020.