February 16, 2014

Two Poems by James Owens


Somewhere in Michigan, mid-day, just off the highway,
berries the birds have left deepen in their October blue,
as sleet dry-whispers into the last hanging birch leaves.

Trucks roar past, all hurry and void.
I want to turn and tell you that I loiter
halfway on the long road,
leaning back,
the flat miles in chains between us.

Yesterday a river lifted the year’s first few snowflakes. 
I breathed the cold from your hair.
A raven landed soundlessly in the top of a pine.

Tell me and I will believe --
is the snow still falling?
is the raven still there?
does the green branch sway in this wind?

Here I drift among the forked trunks of the birches,
wishing for your small pale shoulders in my hands.


My Wife Among Yellow Flowers

I find you in this field of untended bloom,
where the name "ragweed"
unfolds in our breath like a childhood.
There is language. 
There are seeds
and the tenacious racket of crows.
There is color as broad as thunder.
We are lost together, 
and it is more than enough.
You are the hour when I am born.

Two books of James Owens’s poems have been published: An Hour is the Doorway (Black Lawrence Press) and Frost Lights a Thin Flame (Mayapple Press). His poems, reviews, translations, and photographs have appeared widely in literary journals, including recent or upcoming publications in The Cortland Review, Poetry Ireland, The Stinging Fly, The Cresset, and Valparaiso Poetry Review. He has an MFA from the University of Alabama and lives in central Indiana and northern Ontario.

1 comment:

  1. Dear James,
    Both these poems speak to my heart. They are tender, and have a quietness about them that brings reflection. Thank you. I intend to buy your books.

    Mary jo Balistreri