because while some truths lend themselves to equations, others are best described in verse

why i write poetry

canal, drained



there are too many pine-sown miles
down sixty-four east between here
and the coast,
not enough syllables
in a night.

because the lightning flash is silent

and the cobblestones too loud,
chattering away our past
over slip-slick mouths.

because they pull
fewer bodies
from the dark of this water
than one might think

and our image
is a birdcage that goes
is reduced to matchsticks
and catches flame,
sinks again.

the lightning, as i have said,
is silent.

because some suns
were born broken
and some days
destined to break and
once not many ago
i found an ant
in the sugar jar, drowning.

because (i
am not worth loving, sad, though)
some afternoons
there is a july morning
with open windows
and no thunder but
tucked in the space
where it should be
stands a poem.

11 responses

  1. our image
    is a birdcage that goes
    blood-deep,…dang that is cool

    and you are worth loving
    for sure, friend

    smiles….love that close

    July 26, 2013 at 10:39 am

    • *smiles back* thanks, b.

      July 28, 2013 at 12:08 pm

  2. Some very strong emotions expressed in these lines…very powerful imagery.

    July 26, 2013 at 10:57 am

  3. Love the verse structure with the becauses. Tis a wonderful device.

    And everything else is great as well.

    July 26, 2013 at 10:59 am

    • thanks! wasn’t sure of the “becauses” myself. glad you approve!

      July 28, 2013 at 12:22 pm

  4. Joanna this is beautifully poignant! However, I protest when you say that you are not worth loving! You are a beautifully gifted and dear lady who deserves all the love in the world!

    July 26, 2013 at 12:05 pm

    • aww, Stacy! you shouldn’t take me too literally! the full line, in my head as i hear it, is “”i am not worth loving, sad,” which comes from a line in a song that i’ve used before, translated roughly as “i always want to be happy; sad, i’m not worth the effort.” anyway. 🙂 thanks for all you said!

      July 28, 2013 at 12:29 pm

  5. Wow – what a beautiful, genuine poem. The “ant drowning in a sugar jar” is such a powerful image…

    July 26, 2013 at 10:48 pm

    • thanks so much!

      July 28, 2013 at 12:30 pm

  6. Tiffany Coffman

    You have tapped into my Appalachian blood with this piece. Just exquisitely written. “An ant in the sugar jar, drowning”…the whole thing is powerful, emotional imagery just working me from every angle. The last line of the piece says it all.

    September 3, 2013 at 9:37 pm


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