The Universe is Just One of Those Things That Happens from Time to Time

By Jacob Griffin Hall

Featured Art: Stacked Animals by Jonathan Salzman

I deposit my tired universe of bones
beside the farmhouse. Discrete, the butterfly weed
with its leaves tapered to a soft point
leans against the lower stem of a coneflower.
I eat sweet bread and strawberries
and stare into the pocket of oaks dawdling
at the far edge of the field. I draw rings in the clouds
with my outstretched finger, the posture
not unlike accusation, the hair erect at the brush
of a spider against an exposed ankle. The only choice
is how far to carry a burden. I’ve known
the most ordinary people, autumn, untamed piles
of burning leaves. I’ve watched from a safe distance
and disregarded the intensity with which I scratched
my wrist, the skin slick and glinting
beneath a series of similar suns. I’ve negotiated
my right to fathom the bodies of insects.
It’s going well so far. I’ve given up
chocolate bars and late nights and thoughts
of making my life a metaphor. Still the coneflower
is nimble atop its spread of fibrous root.
I wait for the sun to stain the clouds
that shade of rattled yellow that announces evening,
the low light, a thing I know but still need to parse.


Jacob Griffin Hall was raised outside of Atlanta and is currently a PhD candidate in English at the University of Missouri. In the past he has worked as assistant poetry editor for the Mid-American Review and he currently works as audio editor for The Missouri Review. His poems have appeared or are forthcoming in New South, The Carolina Quarterly, DIAGRAM, Poetry South, and other journals.

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