M.P. Jones IV

ON THE FIELD OF CATTLE BONES Ruin in the soft pastureemptiness of the field at dawn parts coyotes pickedcould never be put back scattered sun bleachedcolor of cigar stains absent mandible silent skullceremonies of scapula and femur afternoon collapsethe movement of formtoward loam what after life is this green mosswith the temperature rising like the sunover the grinning towhead who stands on morning hillsand turns the riverstones to watch tiny godsdart through the black water. PRAYER FOR THE GREAT DOG: CENTRAL ALABAMA Beyond midnight, we move along the lake’s rimin the light of a moon so bright that shadows fallaround us everywhere. In such a spectral landscape,any movement in the dark trees is green thunder. Across the starry surface, mist rises in long wispsand resembles white snakes climbing like angelsinto the silent sky, and in the distant pines, far off, our house appears as if on firewith bulb light, the orange glow offersits familiar beacon. For a while, we stand afraidto interrupt the silence which swelled until it filledthe lake and the green hill and the dark trees. The moon lies motionless in the lake’s exile. All at once the yearlings are everywhere around us,stiff as young stalks in the wind. They seem so unafraidas they amble and linger up the hill in the wounded waythat deer sometimes move through the trees. I can believe in death, for just this moment.It is enough to stand on this hill, with the lake burningOrion’s fires so brightly it is as if we are only shadows passing through darkness, as if we are only a dreamthe young had outgrown believing, or perhaps theyare the dream and we are the childrenmoving for cover through the cold winter night. THE SILENT THRUSH When the echo returnsfrom the lake’s rim,shadows edgingin the darkness that isneither morning nor night,far beyond the mossybank of emptiness,I’ll driftlike the fledglingwho danced outsidemy windowall that afternoonand then flew onnot knowingto where or when. A fifth-generation native of Auburn, Alabama, M.P. Jones IV is a Graduate Teaching Assistant, studying American literature at Auburn University where he runs errands for Southern Humanities Review. He is also founder and editor-in-chief of Kudzu Review, a Southern journal of literature & environment. Recent poetry appears or is forthcoming in Tampa Review, Canary Magazine, Town Creek Poetry, Cumberland River Review, and in divers others, memoirs in Sleet Magazine and decomP magazinE, an article on W.S. Merwin’s recent poetry collection, The Shadow of Sirius in Merwin Studies; and he has penned book reviews for Interdisciplinary Studies in Literature and the Environment, Southern Humanities Review, and A Few Lines Magazine, and a collection of poetry, Live at Lethe (Sweatshoppe Publications, 2013). He is interested in pursuing a PhD in American Literature in fall 2015.​