said Eriugena

and, after the wonders of the thicket
I was lost in had been
wandered, words were

no longer signs arrowing errantly
nailed to branches easily broken.
simple to say, but this geometry was

no frail wish. the sigils still spelled
sometimes aslant, others crazily, but the mouthful of
river water sang clear, tasted true.

that night—every painstakingly wrought
knot of an Our Father come undone
—a rosary made of thorns

instead of thread, woven between my fingers,
like a ladder even Jacob could not climb.
above, tattered swatches of tree-tangled

sky looked stitched together, though I remembered
it always, always wheels. I woke as if I hadn't
slept an hour, or so it seemed, yet I knew

in this wilderness, the wildest things were
not without. but, within, the fire made from
kindling had watched the deepening dark

as long as it could keep both burning
eyes open, coals no more than ashes
best left behind. all things that are

I wrote in soot on stone
are lights—but what
that meant was elusive

as morning-heard birds
dusk never hoped to see
beyond low-lying clouds

of unknowing. once, I only believed in
how flammable the smallest sorrows are.
and I know not when, or how, but the peregrine

wind nested inside the thicket
I'd been walking through, the branches
beginning to whisper. I don't know what

they spoke of. something like look, there
is a clearing, and there was
a clearing and, further, a field

where there were no prodigals—
only fellow pilgrims are—bewildered
by the scent of juniper on the air.

for Kathleen Peirce

John D. Fry is the author of the chapbook silt will swirl (NewBorder Publishing). His poetry has appeared or is forthcoming in The Offending Adam, alice blue review, Bellingham Review, Free Verse, Pebble Lake Review, and Konundrum Engine Literary Review, among others. A graduate of the MFA program at Texas State University-San Marcos, he edits poetry for Newfound and lives in the Texas Hill Country. More information can be found at (>

Boxcar Poetry Review - ISSN 1931-1761