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Shannon Jonas: Two Poems

The Howl in the Night and Rogue Sharks, 1916 | Argument For Excision of Place



The Howl in the Night and Rogue Sharks, 1916

He, the seeker: of scorched rocks, the alveolate-
hearted, and wandering bands of psalteries. It was he
who said show me a happy man, Iíll show the fool
behind his smile, the rocks sore like a thumb, and smooth
like a thumb from river wash. She, the keeper:
of whistle-tongue, the poison inside
the walls, and tales behind a box of teeth and fur;
said as soon as I hear him open the door, an eyelash
falls to the dust. In the yard she leaves
clipped hair for the jays, shined coins for the crows.
What burns in her: a psaltery I once heard from the woods.
Having seen God in the eyes of a shark
from a New Jersey creek, he pulled apart his skiff, stacked
the ribs like whale bones in a pit behind the house,
set the pit to blaze. Iíve listened
to the leaves in tiny rustle across the yard,
listened to the mimic of fire.



Argument For Excision of Place

Determinant:
because the horses are spooked
when she shows; because constant
whispers weaken us nightly; because
the moon disappeared behind the clouds
for a fortnight; because realms of mote,
and ashes and a watching cellar hole; because
the house is but a vessel;
because there is shape
to the dead, and always sound.

Effect:
it was an heirloom braid that first rose
in smoke, a rising word joined
with tar and sap at the attic
joists and wren nests, logos
ineffable because fire,
the shrinker of things, because

itís trace murmurs that raise
a city starward, or
itís trace murmurs that raise
starward from a city, or
candlelight devoured and shadows
that fled from within a drowning house,
a man and a woman lean-looked
and quiescent, thrall to climbing flame.




Poet's Biography:
  Shannon Jonas hails from the mountains of Virginia and now lives in Fayetteville, Arkansas, a poet in the MFA program in poetry at the University of Arkansas. He has poems published or forthcoming in Goodfoot, The Wisconsin Review, and Talking River.

© 1999 - 2003, by the poets featured herein.