Selected by Alexis Rhone Fancher, Poetry Editor

Richard Jarrette: Three Poems

Crawling From Home In My Diaper At Ten
Months Found On A Street In Los Angeles by a
Truck Driver Who Began Knocking On Doors

A living weathercock crow studies the crossroads—
people heading in directions laid out for them.

Magnolia blossoms show the sky what they’ve made of root waters.

Mourning doves sparrows at their business wheeling
hawks and vultures test the borders of heaven.

I’ve been on the way to this flowering acacia all my life
hanging on to the reins of a cabbage butterfly.


After Fifty Years Return To The Beans In Kenneth Rexroth’s
Translation Of Ou Yang Hsiu’s Jade Plum Trees in Spring
And Write This Poem With The Quill Of A Swan

Beans a simile for the ripe green jade plums poem 
savoring lazy hot afternoon sex a thousand years ago

the eyes of the figurehead of my heart the Black
Madonna strayed from those fragrant lowland fields

when my teacher from the mountains said

—Yes, Mother Nature is beautiful when a swan 
     trapped by ice in the frozen pond is eaten alive 
     by the mother fox—terribly beautiful—
     and it is never finished.

Horses whinny by the river and a dog’s skull whistles.


In These Twisted And Perilous Times Having Barbaric
Thoughts I Confer With Po Chü-i And His Elder Tu Fu

More cockeyed looks from crows and sparrows anthrax bearing
carcasses rise from ice and tundra—nation an egg in midair
tossed by the vicious thug who relishes suffering
cheered by his minions.

—There’s drought south of the Yangtze: in Ch’ü-chou
    people are eating people says Po Chü-i.

The president locks brown babies in cages—
I want to tear his eyes out and crush his trachea.

—They sacrificed a beautiful white stallion
    and swore their oath in its blood says Tu Fu.

Laughter in winter as seasonal creeks awakened to flood roads 
we splashed across broke ice in the fountain each morning for birds 
spring black violets cracked through rocks to feed the larvae 
of giant leopard moths my first pets.

The Black Madonna of Częstochowa bleeds in my fist.



Purchase STRANGE ANTLERS by Richard Jarrette

What are you looking for?