Nocturne in an Empty Field
M. P. Jones IV

Nocturne in an Empty Field

Perhaps it could be day a while longer
in the raptured grass, burning orange
with melancholy, where you once stood,
watching your own son run down the treeline
with a throat full of fire and the forest
already filling with darkness
like a bowl spun out of the red clay paths
left where the cows sought water
and moved for shelter when silence fell
as rain does over the gentle give of the earth,
where we children sat back-to-back
in the moonless field, watching for shadows
stalking the wood’s edge. This night
recalls nights fallen. Coming home
from college to find the cows all sold
and you having slipped almost behind
the dark curtain of senility but peeking out
to remember it was time to press against
the mud of the low place where the cattle ate,
where the loam hardened and kudzu flung
its shawl over the face of the green hill,
where you stood, recalling a cairn built
at the edge of the river as night softened.

M. P. Jones IV

is a graduate research fellow at the University of Florida and the editor-in-chief of Kudzu House Quarterly, a journal of ecological thought. Reflections on the Dark Water, his second poetry collection, is forthcoming from Solomon & George, and his poems are forthcoming in ISLE, Southern Humanities Review, and The Fourth River. He is the co-editor of Writing the Environment in Nineteenth-Century American Literature: The Ecological Awareness of Early Scribes of Nature and has contributed to Canary, Tampa Review, Painted Bride Quarterly, Greensboro Review, and other journals. His website is