by JM Jordan
Step out on the back porch of some getaway,
some house nestled among low historic hills,
where you have found yourself among the kind
that laugh serenely at the old gods, who think
that they are not surrounded by ghosts.
Step away from their high earnest voices,
so fixed and certain in the crowd that titters
among their favored issues and dishes and drinks.
Let only a silver thread of distant music
trail you out into the night-time. Leave the rest.
Step out. Look up. See how the darkening sky
seems like a backdrop crafted for the sagas
of the late grey clouds, the clouds themselves
like paper for the rushing poetry of birds
that draw your own desire along their traces.
This place is made both for and through you. See
how the last light torches the black treetops
with a grace so incandescent and impossible
that you might be struck blind by such awareness.
But there it is: so strange, so freely given.
The saints of course knew this, and so they gave
themselves into those bright refining flames,
so each might be a distillation of that gift:
a tale, a piece of blackened bone, a seed
from which a great cathedral might spring.
Hide such moments in your heart, my child.
Turn back into the noise, the mirrored rooms,
the empty clink and clatter of dishes and drinks.
But do not think that you are here alone.
Do not think that you are not responsible
And when the crack begins to climb the wall,
when the dark glass breaks and the voices quail,
when the house itself begins to shift and shudder,
and all the lights go black from room to room,
then stand among them singing as you must.
Sing with the voices of those that came before you.
You are the song they promised to the world
but never got to finish. And so sing.
Sing as the walls collapse and the rafters fall
and all the summer stars come tumbling down,
one night when I am gone.
J. M. Jordan recently began writing again after a twenty-year hiatus. He is a Georgia native, a Virginia resident, and a homicide detective by profession. His poems have appeared recently in The Chattahoochee Review, Image, The Carolina Quarterly, Dappled Things, Louisiana Literature, Modern Age and elsewhere.