D. R. James has been teaching writing, literature, and peace-making at Hope College in Holland, Michigan, for 33 years and lives in the woods east of Saugatuck. His newest of seven poetry collections are If god were gentle (Dos Madres Press, 2017) and the chapbooks Split-Level and Why War (both Finishing Line Press, 2014 and 2017). https://amazon.com/author/drjamesauthorpage
after an untitled painting by Merle Rosen
Dive in anywhere. Go ‘round and ‘round on pearl or coral, cross on cobalt, stall against the black mass, the black slabs that finger under rivers of rose. Your hazel eyes will search unmirrored the rings like years, the vibrato’d, banded angles. Your sparrow childhood will scan for the far mouth of corn stalks, inflict patient waiting before screaming. Scrawls in clay will cue the silliness of ancient glyphs. Saplings will bend and sing to the wind. Darkened leaves will unhem. Dawn’s paradise will shatter, the constellations of fine lines torn apart for a merciless afterward waving like harsh flags. But then a familiar vermillion will send autumn’s frost dissolving, the diurnal hours zigzag-falling like freewheeling feathers, until tonight ages into its sedate pitch, those baffling coils slacken into cool-jazz Taps, and you view the horizon: slimmed, glimmered, wobbling.