Spring/Fall 2020


by Jonathan Louis Duckworth

When a young poem emerges from its chrysalis
it must gorge itself

on any available sustenance,
consuming three times its body weight

in a matter of hours. This is beautiful.
Words are ideal nourishment,

but in lean times the poemling (or “poemago”) can also
survive on glottal stops, punctuation,

& meaningful pauses. Nouns, adjectives,
& verbs are the staples of its diet,

but adverbs are important for a shiny exoskeleton,
& prepositions can be chewed into an adhesive paste

& combined with semidigested wood particles
to build simple shelters. Some poemlings

live in these muddy alcoves for up to sixty years
while others never emerge at all.

When fully formed, the poemling flies toward Mother Moon
but is promptly eaten by one of a thousand birds—

& this is beautiful too
because each one of those birds is a symbol

for something incredibly important
& affirming.

Jonathan Louis Duckworth

Jonathan Louis Duckworth received his MFA from Florida International University. His fiction, poetry, and non-fiction appears in New Ohio ReviewFourteen HillsWhiskey IslandMeridianTupelo QuarterlyJabberwock ReviewSuperstition ReviewFlash Fiction Online, and elsewhere. His chapbook Book of Never was published by Finishing Line Press.

Spring/Fall 2020