D.B. Jonas

The Child Francis in the Grass


He’d swear that he could just about remember
the buzz of new-mown hay the day his joy sprang
into sight, the very instant when he’d met delight
in the swirling desultory company of crickets,
in the headstrong hobble of a beetle in the road.


In that precise moment, he’d be known to say, he knew
the meaning of companionship and never after felt alone,
although he lived the kind of life we all have led, a life
of lust and lies and loss, but never really knew just
what it was men meant by emptiness or tedium.


The curve of time would one day rise against his sandaled
step, soft rondels in his rattling breath would one day
sing of all the swimming, soaring, crawling things,
the happy company of creatures, and in this air beneath
those dethroned stars of his, the gentle company of death.


The Upside of Disaster

Warned of its stealthy ways
we awaited its arrival
but it had long ago arrived
disguised as daylight
underneath the door
and found its way each night
on padded foot
across the polished floor.

Being always here
it somehow never
really stole the air
but like the unlit chandelier
that hangs above the stair
it made its ponderous
pendant presence known
in the density of sluggish time
in the somehow slackened pace
and strange new tick
that seemed to speak reluctance
from all the straining clocks.


We learned to live
and learned to learn
to ignore the urgent summons
of all our former futures
to set aside the ancient
anxious haste that sees
the hours passing ever faster.


Such was the unexpected upshot
the provident alluvial gift
the brilliant remnant
of the year, that year
of our disaster.

DB Jonas is an orchardist living in the Sangre de Cristo mountains of northern New Mexico. Born in California in 1951, he was raised in Japan and Mexico and educated at the Universities of California, Padova, Princeton, and Yale. After a career in business and the sciences, he has returned to an early avocation in poems. His work has appeared in Neologism, Consilience Journal, Poetica Magazine and The Jewish Literary Journal, and is forthcoming in Tar River and The Deronda Review.

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