ISSUE 4: SUMMER 2016 / POETRY

“On accepting your existential validity over summer break” by Joshua Roark

What do we look like when we are asleep and our bodies have disappeared? Squigly lines of light?  Damp dark spots hovering?

Over to your right

The neighbor’s dog is barking

At his own echo.

There is a cool reflection on the lake, of pines green and rusty twigs pushing into the cool blue sky reflected.  No clouds.  A rooster crows behind you, Hector or Bob.

Everything is very green and bright and the shadows lay in dark contrasted relief and you remind yourself that this is the same as it’s always been, the same as any other time in history.  All eyes have seen this same brightness and the contrasted shadows.  Nothing changes except for what’s inside.

That is of course taking for granted the unverifiable assumption that the world existed at all a moment ago.

Either way, it’s pretty now and has probably always been pretty.

You think of the kids.  Their names are beginning to taste foreign and their faces are starting to fade and their voices get dimmer.  Maybe that’s why words are starting to come out, words of your own.  Not their names, though they had lovely names.

You hear birds werping and chirping and a bee or a fly or a wasp is buzzing nearby and maybe those are frogs down by the lake and now there is a cricket making leg music in and out.

The tiled floor is dirty and sandy because it’s the porch and the dogs don’t wipe their feet.  It is cool on your barefeet and the typewriter sounds very heavy against the coolness and stone.

A plane.  Coming closer, a propeller plane, small, barely bigger than a bird.  Clouds now like cotton blooming wild.

You wonder what bird is making that honk-whistle by the well.  By Lawrence’s grave, honking through its whistle beak.


Joshua Roark currently lives with his beautiful, amazing, fellow writer wife in Los Angeles, working as a homeschool teacher for young kids while pursuing an MFA from Antioch University (2017).   He also works as an associate editor and web manager for Antioch’s literary magazine, Lunch Ticket.  His poetry has been published in San Gabriel Valley Poetry Quarterly, Killer Whale Journal, 3 Elements Review, among others.

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