Matador Review

A Quarterly Missive of Alternative Concern

joshua mckinney


"novum"

 

When the turning season came, we wondered what it meant.
Nature's thin veneer was stripped away; the stunned leaves
were sundered from their trees, divided without consent.

And then a white silence fell, heavy, drifting to the eaves
of houses where families prayed their prayers for snow,
nature's thin veneer. Stripped away, the stunned leaves

faded to memory and were gone. Somehow, we'd forgotten how
to feel. Our numb blood fumbled through the narrow halls
of houses where families prayed. Their prayers for snow

were answered by a warm wind that raised seas, sparked wars,
starved millions, stripped away any awareness of suffering.
To feel our numb blood fumbling through the narrow halls

of our veins became an addiction, the brain's slow buffering
in the long, longing days of distortion. The ragged mourned.
Millions starved. Stripped away, any awareness of suffering

was a dead leaf banished by a warm wind. Deaf to the alarm,
when the turning season came we wondered what it meant.
In the long, longing days of distortion, the ragged mourned,
were sundered from their trees, divided without consent.


Joshua McKinney is the author of three books of poetry: Mad Cursive (Wordcraft of Oregon 2012), The Novice Mourner (Bear Star Press, 2005), and Saunter (U of GA, 2002). His work has appeared in such magazines as American Letters & Commentary, American Literary Review, The Antioch Review, Boulevard, Colorado Review, Denver QuarterlyThe Kenyon Review, New American Writing, River Styx, and many others. He is the recipient of The Dorothy Brunsman Poetry Prize, The Dickinson Prize, and a Gertrude Stein Award for Innovative Writing. He is co-editor of the online eco-poetry zine, Clade Song.


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