Shannon Jonas



...another sound from the dirt
beneath the house, after two years
of rain; was wearing a starched dress,
and hatchets in eyes; a dry cough, a rest,
then again, then nothing; the wind
walked off with the scythe,
as well; and Hell is still
empty. Do you know not this? I wonder
that the earth did its best against you,

she speaking to him past the sizzle of fat.


For instance the stillborn, buried
closest to the house, then sheer, albino
and scar, now horned, stasis and sod.
For instance time
in the house is measured by burning
lights of varying degrees
of brilliance. For instance take the brief
profusion of sparks when the stove
lighted on Wednesday evening, near
6:03, the middle of June,
any year. For instance
when the dogs turn their heads, the leaves
whisking the window, it is not the coming
frost they hear, but the wrong number
ringing in the house down the road.


"Samsara" began as the first poem of a much longer series of poems by that name. With the series I was trying to capture the history, some of it violent, some sedated, of a house, tracing the individuals who occupied this place. The poems skipped time, generations, etc. "Samsara", I hope, is a representation of this cycle, this non-time.