The American Journal of Poetry
"Strong Rx Medicine"®

 

Jonah Winter

Big Dreams

 

One day a brick

decided to be a flower.

 

Problem was, the flower department

wasn’t accepting applications anymore.

 

The flower department

was just an empty office

 

in a building of empty offices

 

in a town of empty buildings

 

in a country of bricks

 

and flowers.

 

 

Jonah Winter

If You See Something, Say Something

 

I saw something.

It was just sitting there.

It seemed to be flat

and it had writing on it.

At one point, it moved.

 

I wasn’t sure

if I should say anything.

But then I figured

I just ought to go ahead

and say something.

 

The problem was,

by the time I said something,

the thing I saw

was gone, or at least

I couldn’t see it.

 

Still,

I sure am glad I said something

about that thing I saw.

It’s always good to keep your eyes open

and to say things.

 

 

Jonah Winter

What We Know

 

Knowing what we know

            about pineapples and tragic endings,

 

Knowing what we know

            about Shakespeare’s sonnets and The Statue of Liberty,

 

Knowing what we know

            about Godzilla vs. The Appalachian Lap Dulcimer,

 

Knowing volumes, as we must certainly know,

            about the frail balance of seemingly tiny things –

                        a passing smile, a glass of milk, a single raindrop

                        taken out of context, misquoted, magnified

                        until it is no longer just a raindrop

                        but rather a crystal ball

                        in the wagon of a Gypsy

                        whose eyes get big as she foretells great things

                        about the future of one particular fettuccine noodle,

 

Knowing how this delicate balance of seemingly disparate elements

            is what holds the universe in-tact,

            keeps the world from turning into one endless I Love Lucy re-run

            in which everything devolves into foolishness and chaos,

                                                                                    a new Big Bang,

 

Knowing what we know

            about the Gods of Randomness, pranksters

            motivated by their singular love of paradox, up all hours

            like a night-shift of Wiley Coyote impersonators,

            planting dynamite behind our smallest and our greatest expectations,

            fiddling around with this or that unlikely outcome,

            moving us in unforeseen directions, pushing us

            like proverbial deer into the headlights

            of what comes next, what certainly must come next,

 

Knowing as we know

            that it has always been thus,

                        whatever that means,

 

 

 

But knowing as we know

            that our story, like all stories,

                        doth have a beginning, middle and an end

                        and was written in the stars

                        ages ago, long before the wondrous moments of our births,

 

Knowing as we know, however,

            that love has such small windows,

and that sometimes it is necessary to bring a ladder

for climbing up into those windows

which hopefully will be unlocked

on whatever textbook summer night,

amidst a profusion of moonflower blossoms,

we might be bold enough to reach across the galaxy

between us, extending a hand

for the first time, knowing, not knowing,

but mainly knowing,

 

Knowing as we know

            about particle physics,

which ain’t much, admittedly,

            but nonetheless knowing the sheer unlikelihood, statistically,

that two such seemingly tiny, insignificant bodies in motion

            would ever cross paths,

                        much less collide, creating an explosion so massive

as to be felt and heard in the farthest reaches of Heaven,

 

 

Knowing all this, and so much more…,

 

How could we have ever doubted

            that whatever literal conveyor belts brought us right here

                        to this current instant

were purely random?

            How could we have doubted

                        the irrefutable truth

that everything has always been leading to this one moment,

trickling, rushing, meandering, overflowing

like streams to a river

as yet to be named or even discovered,

how could we have doubted

 

that our fates are as inextricable as water?

 

How could we have doubted

            in the dungeons of our lowest hours

                        that we were never meant to be alone?

 

 

 

 

            We have arrived here,

            in this particular place, in this particular life,

            for one purpose, that we might some night,

                        aboard this twilight boat-ride through the Magic City,

            look up

            and suddenly see the one face, so lovely,

we know and have always known

would someday appear, smiling, open, ready

 

for the clock to start ticking,

 

for this story to begin,

whatever the ending might be,

and whenever.

 

 

 

JONAH WINTER is the author of two books of poems, Maine and Amnesia. He is also the author of many children’s books, most recently The Secret Project.

 

 

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