Fall 2011

Table of Contents - Vol. VII, No. 3


Poetry    Fiction    Translations     Reviews

Lois P. Jones


Photo © Peter Shefler


Just This

Music as snowdrift on the crest of a hill.
Light composing shadows beneath

the white boughs of evergreens. A time
when absence is a strawberry

in a old koa bowl. You remember
the taste of it -- a note that falls

from the corner of a room. A generous mouth
and a tongue's dark gravity. You have left

your stillness and I have played its chord.
Its pull toward a universe

of lost things. This cathedral of wishes
that silenced a meadow. Poplars growing

in winter toward a cornflower sky. They know
the sound of your footsteps. The soft thunder

of a man. Heavier than hooves of a white-tailed deer,
lighter than a cardinal's blood. The way wind

unravels your red scarf until you slip
from your body -- following the crystal fields

over Grandmother Mountain. I see
where desire went, consumed by snowmelt

someone who once named you Dream-Crowned.
Said your whiteness spoke the unsayable things.



Exile (for Mario Feninger)

You shall leave everything you love most:
this is the arrow that the bow of exile shoots first. -- Dante Alighieri

Memory impales like an old cut of wood.
It leaves me in this field -- a scarecrow

with the sky for a head gathering clouds
for a lost country. Stripped down to nothing

but this owl on my outstretched arm.
I think of how your mother draws you out

of the Packard for the view. Somewhere
on your journey from Alexandria to Genoa.

At the top of a hill you look down
into yourself. Florence unfolds in front of you

in a river of green silk. Vineyards and olive groves,
red roofs aflame in the August heat,

the Palazzo del Bargello and its prison of ghosts.
And you weep with visions of a man in red robes

and eyes so full of rain. Years later at the tip
of a question it comes back --

the country you could not save,
the poems you wrote to douse the blaze for a land

that forgot its noblest son, the fever before your collapse.
I say that exile is a kind of death where loss is found

in every beautiful thing -- a postcard, a sunset, a sonnet,
the way light kindles a wooden floor, jasmine

and rose water, moonlight on the tongue. The truth is
nothing ever leaves you and hell is an illusion

of landscape. Take these wounds worn in wood.
I'll bring what's left, to burn.


© Lois P. Jones


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