Post Road Magazine #11

Proof

Jason Stumpf

No brushstroke,
no sketch-of-a-tree-

The sky holding to its breath-

New cloud white unfolds,
a page curling as it turns
a thing can be so private
as to risk disappearance.

So the tender natures of a secret:
opposition, also promise.
The Greeks understood this,
a word for poison,
the same for cure.

There's ruin at the root of it,
rumor in the language of it.

Brushstroke, tree-

Gray figure on the tree line, gray
figure waving in the grass.
The grass gray hash-marks,
the figure charcoal squiggles on a page,
agape or loving too dearly
some lost thing.

Silent actor,
charcoal on a page.

A wave and it turns
to some new body,
new pain born to long for.

The Lesson of the Birds

It's to keep birds from eating, you say,
nets hang along the grapevines,
their heart-shaped gatherings of stones.

Because nature is sly, or seemingly,
the birds reach through to pierce the grapes and eat.

You say it's because the birds don't see the heart is guarded,
they mar it and can sing, sleep and wake to sing.

It's the birds, you say, we envy.

Jason Stumpf holds an M.F.A. from Washington University in Saint Louis and currently lives in Rhode Island. His poems have recently appeared in LIT, New American Writing, and Pool.

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