M. P. Jones IV


It arrives with the dark syllables of thunder
                         rattling the panes, motes of rainmist
and a longing to return
             to the summer we broke the ground open
with picks, smell of cedar in fresh loam,
                        and the baby chicks doomed
by the stare of our wild dog.

When it comes ripe as honeysuckle wine,
mesh jelly-bags in hand,
reeking of yeast and clover,
                        the mind circles like a buzzard
seeking carrion of old voices and faces,
rooms recall disappeared rooms, ground
once broken.

New ground. The soul must seek new earth
                                                   to turn.

In the backyard, there is place enough
to drive posts into the earth and lay wire
where the jays will perch
                         and watch for ripening tomatoes

to glean before the clouds blow rain
across the hill in early May, flooding the bare
and barren to bury the dead.

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