Jon Thompson

(Harlan County, USA)

In the long descent,/ darkness/ the one true compass. The world is not one; there are worlds within worlds/ what we know of the world of light is less than the weight of a soul slipping from an earth-pressed body. We have lost many a word/ lost many a word/ & for them they go/ down/ rock is sky overhead/ in the darkness a ray of light/ in the darkness there’s clarity/ you can see/ the children of children/ “the immense possibilities of breath.”/ In the darkness/ you can feel the lamentation in the/ air/ can see the gift of blood/ the remoteness of heaven./ And of the market/ its shares,/ the world is silent. The words the words/ in the darkness/ everything turns on the words:/ “my people”

JON THOMPSON teaches twentieth-century literature at North Carolina State, where he edits Free Verse: A Journal of Contemporary Poetry & Poetics and the single-author poetry series, Free Verse Editions. His first collection was The Book of the Floating World (2007). In 2009, he published a book of lyrical essays, After Paradise: Essays on the Fate of American Writing. “Shares” is from a manuscript, Landscape with Light, which reflects upon landscapes in iconic American films. More on him at:

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