Jonathan Minton







In ancient Greece, a serpent hatched its egg

in the nest of the ruby-crowned kinglet,

the little warbler, song-throated, gold-crested.


If you arrange your mirrors, so you see only this reflection,

or the array of brass cannons along the wall,

if you look away, nervously, towards the nameless terror,


and translate its famine into fields of seedless corn,

these letters are dangerous in the hands of a person

of no good-will.





In my letter, I said that you held me like a blind fish in an alien air.

I was thinking of the difference between penance and pennant. 


I can show you our other fictions, our heads hung low, with smoke

rising around us in slender strings, or the image of a swallowtail,


tapered into a green, delicate V. I will say this again, but will guard

against the brighter lie—the copper coin, the child’s trick.


Every star is dying behind its light, but this light still signals

at the lid of the world, where the rooms are darkened,


and every blank wall is a door swinging inward on ancient hinges,

and every promise begins and ends until forgiven or forgotten,


and every silence culls and pulls until our eyes only see

the Os of their sockets, and every mouth says yes and yes,


and everything points elsewhere, and everything is the answer.









Jonathan Minton lives in central West Virginia where he is an Associate Professor of English at Glenville State College.  He is the author of the book Technical Notes for Bird Government (Telemetry Press, 2018), and the chapbooks In Gesture (Dyad Press, 2009) and Lost Languages (Long Leaf Press, 1999).  His poetry has appeared in the journals Ecolinguistics, Connotation Press, Asheville Poetry Review, Coconut, Columbia Poetry Review, Reconfigurations, Free Verse, Trillium and elsewhere and has been included in the anthologies Poems for Peace (Dyad Press, 2006), Oh One Arrow (Flim Forum Press, 2007) and Crazed by the Sun (Cyberwit Press, 2008).  He edits the journal Word For/Word and co-curates the Little Kanawha Reading Series. 



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