One Poem

Jason Stumpf


We are rapt in whosever elegy this is, aside the muddy waters of a puddle. The safest sleep is just beneath the spider's web. A tempest's nonsense holds them as the teacup cools: a boyon the walk, a girl chalked on the wall is disappearing in the rain. Trees discard their finer limbs, crossing out the forest floor. Few confuse poverty for poetry. Look at the saints wrapped in tissue, their footless shoes blackened with ash. The fountain frets. A foregone story told in spools is threading to its fin. The women parade in puritan bonnets. They darken dreams. A ribbon pondering fidelity, silky with obedience. We couldn't render living from a finer thread. Or excuse the excuses of children. New genres for new generations. Can you tell me who I am? We go as we are told, sloshing through the mud with our bows and violins, in search of some such long-lost riches.

Jason Stumpf

Jason Stumpf grew up in Tennessee. His translation of Mexican poet Pura Lopez-Colome's Aurora was recently published by Shearsman Books. Other recent work has appeared in Harp & Altar, LIT, The Modern Review and other journals. He teaches literature and creative writing at Providence College in Rhode Island.