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James Owens

From the Rocks above Bass Pond


I bang fist-sized stones together. Once.
Stones cool with the smell of dirt
from lying in the ferns.
My palms love their gritty sides.

The hollow tonk plucks at air
like a first raindrop hitting a spider's web,
the shape of a word
whose only content is attention.

The solemn turkey buzzard shrugs higher.
Grey moss cracks underfoot.
Juniper and blueberry clench small.
Here, wind and weak sun --

below, the fur of trees ruffles,
the pond glints,
losing track of my failures.

I would lie and wither like the moss
and rise in a year, language as hard
and unused as a scatter of pebbles,
to find my own crossed thighbones here,

stripped sticks
to knock together for prayer.

 

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Two books of James Owens's poems have been published: An Hour is the Doorway (Black Lawrence Press) and
Frost Lights a Thin Flame (Mayapple Press). His poems, reviews, translations, and photographs have appeared
widely in literary journals, including recent or upcoming publications in The Cortland Review, Poetry Ireland,
The Cresset, and Town Creek Poetry. He lives in central Indiana and northern Ontario.