Jonathan Louis Duckworth is an MFA student at Florida International University and a reader for Gulf Stream Magazine. His fiction, poetry, and non-fiction appears in or is forthcoming in New Ohio Review, Fourteen Hills, PANK Magazine, Literary Orphans, Cha, Superstition Review, and elsewhere.
August 24, 2016
A rainstorm outside,
so I lift my window, set a jar on the sill,
and invite the storm to have a seat.
That's when the sky clears.
Storms can stand everything but kindness.
Long after the riverbed dries
the mill keeps turning,
the millstone grinds down to its own echo,
wears away to a stone small enough
to set in a ring.
I have a present for you —
call it a symbol.
A thousand loops overhead,
and the vulture still surveys the field.
Nothing dead here, everything in motion.
He's waiting for his shadow to die.
When I write poetry, I generally try to capture a single sentiment lucidly and precisely. With this poem however, I'm not trying for that, I'm simply presenting three vignettes that aren't particularly concerned with being literally understood by a reader. Understanding isn't the point of this poem, it's not why I wrote the poem — I wrote the poem to invite the reader into a headspace that could best be described as "oblique." Strange turns of phrase, odd leaps, and the sudden appearance of surprising lines like the final line ("He's waiting for his shadow to die.") I wanted to capture the same headspace I feel myself inhabiting when I read the poetry of Franz Wright or similar semi-surreal poets.
Glass: A Journal of Poetry is published weekly by Glass Poetry Press.
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