Saturday Jul 21

MintonJonathan Jonathan Minton lives in central West Virginia, where he is the Director of the Honors Program and Associate Professor of English at Glenville State College. His chapbooks include Lost Languages (Long Leaf Press) and In Gesture (Dyad Press). His poetry and reviews have appeared in the Asheville Poetry Review, Drunken Boat, Coconut, Eratio, Columbia Poetry Review, Reconfigurations, Free Verse, among other journals, and in the anthologies Oh One Arrow (Flim Forum Press), Poems for Peace (Structa Press), and Crazed by the Sun (Cyberwit Press). He edits the journal Word For/Word.

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from LETTERS
 
 
You used to be someone that I know,
the girl wreathed in gold and green leaves.
 
You believed in real gardens,
and I tried to describe their small, imaginary creatures.
 
There was a desk, a lamp and a broken chair
where I fell asleep.
 
There were other elisions. You were also sleeping,
and only fire could wake you.
 
We were like characters
in a story about a house that collapsed as vapor.
 
In the true story you were a ghost
saying twin serpents are dead in their tree.
 
In the true story I was the ghost
saying because I buried them there.
 
 
[You were like a figure appearing at the mouth of a cave]  
 
You were like a figure appearing at the mouth of a cave.
You were planting flowers and the sun painted this scene.
In our rooms, the others were arranged as records
of the days we slept late, of the afternoons
when your arms were bare and I carried firewood
into the cabin we imagined was at the edge of a park.
Sometimes desire comes back as dogs barking at night.
Their hunter flees while the deer is pressed to the thicket.
You were like this figure appearing. I was like a passenger
entering a new city, documents in hand, the sun in my eyes.

 

[When we drove all night, we listened to Johnny Cash]  

When we drove all night, we listened to Johnny Cash,
and you said those commonplaces belong to everyone.
When he sings about Folsom, it’s about the girl at home,
the yard left ragged. When he sings of trains,
they are the ships at sea with their sails opened
for any strange winds to take them. Every country song
is a pastoral. So be with me, I said, and I thought
of garlands in the hallways where we would live.
I was already breaking into every door, I was cutting down
every tree to place them. There were other places,
but I kept them private because they had no names.
We were falling in love. We were dividing into regions
where the citizens sang:
                                           There are countries in our heads,
so gone, gone, we leave our homes, and somewhere else
there is a mouth that cries, and cries.