This crazy, fragmented sorrow. Pieces
of unconcluded scenes lean against trees,
diagrams of loss clear-burined
by the insufficiency of ordinary days,
by the objects that accentuate absence.
From its soft edge, the marsh deepens,
sodden logs, the pool an eye
algae-cataracted, sclerotic with
reflected clouds. Everything here,
in the liquid-earth amniotic soup,
becomes its elements, forgets the grammar
of connections, disarticulates
like memory’s unlocked joints.
Or this bank of trillium, mostly
white, with gracenotes, the brush-flick
of a purple blossom here and there
against the dark ground of three-tongued
stems, brims with energy,
keen breeze ruffling every
plant in boneless side-to-
side undulations across the whole,
palm-sized flakes of sunlight
falling though the oak and
birch canopy to trick and scatter
the flowers’ quick lick and shadow.
For the small white butterflies
that tumble like pale coins
through shade, some would say,
the flowers are not here as things,
rather experience, process
unfolding in the one
moment they’ve known, while things
weigh in the slippage of time.
The absence of a woman’s hands
that removed a glove finger by finger
and touched a glass to her lips is a thing.

James Owens has two books of poetry scheduled for publication this fall: An Hour is the Doorway, from Black Lawrence Press, and Frost Lights a Thin Flame, from Mayapple Press. Recent or upcoming publications include Birmingham Poetry Review, Blue Fifth Review, Mimesis, Galatea Resurrects and The Pedestal Magazine. He lives in La Porte, Ind., with his wife and three children and maintains a blog at klagewelt.blogspot.com (anhaga1066@yahoo.com)

Boxcar Poetry Review - ISSN 1931-1761