ON THE FIELD OF CATTLE BONES
Ruin in the soft pasture
emptiness of the field at dawn
parts coyotes picked
could never be put back
scattered sun bleached
color of cigar stains
absent mandible silent skull
ceremonies of scapula and femur
the movement of form
what after life is this green moss
with the temperature
rising like the sun
over the grinning towhead
who stands on morning hills
and turns the riverstones
to watch tiny gods
dart through the black water.
PRAYER FOR THE GREAT DOG: CENTRAL ALABAMA
Beyond midnight, we move along the lake’s rim
in the light of a moon so bright that shadows fall
around us everywhere. In such a spectral landscape,
any movement in the dark trees is green thunder.
Across the starry surface, mist rises in long wisps
and resembles white snakes climbing like angels
into the silent sky, and in the distant pines,
far off, our house appears as if on fire
with bulb light, the orange glow offers
its familiar beacon. For a while, we stand afraid
to interrupt the silence which swelled until it filled
the lake and the green hill and the dark trees.
The moon lies motionless in the lake’s exile.
All at once the yearlings are everywhere around us,
stiff as young stalks in the wind. They seem so unafraid
as they amble and linger up the hill in the wounded way
that deer sometimes move through the trees.
I can believe in death, for just this moment.
It is enough to stand on this hill, with the lake burning
Orion’s fires so brightly it is as if we are only shadows
passing through darkness, as if we are only a dream
the young had outgrown believing, or perhaps they
are the dream and we are the children
moving for cover through the cold winter night.
THE SILENT THRUSH
When the echo returns
from the lake’s rim,
in the darkness that is
neither morning nor night,
far beyond the mossy
bank of emptiness,
like the fledgling
who danced outside
all that afternoon
and then flew on
to where or when.
A fifth-generation native of Auburn, Alabama, M.P. Jones IV is a Graduate Teaching Assistant, studying American literature at Auburn University where he runs errands for Southern Humanities Review. He is also founder and editor-in-chief of Kudzu Review, a Southern journal of literature & environment. Recent poetry appears or is forthcoming in Tampa Review, Canary Magazine, Town Creek Poetry, Cumberland River Review, and in divers others, memoirs in Sleet Magazine and decomP magazinE, an article on W.S. Merwin’s recent poetry collection, The Shadow of Sirius in Merwin Studies; and he has penned book reviews for Interdisciplinary Studies in Literature and the Environment, Southern Humanities Review, and A Few Lines Magazine, and a collection of poetry, Live at Lethe (Sweatshoppe Publications, 2013). He is interested in pursuing a PhD in American Literature in fall 2015.