Two Poems

By Jennifer Barber

Near the End of June

There’s a sheer swath of dark
above the playground trees.

High in the spruce, the fledgling hawk
that shrilled its cries all day

is silent. The moon is almost full.
Steeped in shadow, the night climbs

the doors of houses on the block.
The children inside are asleep.

My hand on the radio dial
lowers a voice to mumbling.

Outside, a dog’s barking sounds
more and more like a question.


In Ezekiel

When Ezekiel
is transported to
the Valley of Remains,
God explains in a whisper

that the bones will stand
moments before the flesh
and sinew cover them,
the breath returned.

What word would you use
for the sound of the bones?

The stroke of flint on slate?
A thousand keys
in a thousand locks?
A trembling stack of plates?

If you found a word,
do you also have a word
for learning the news
that someone you love
won’t be here long?

Jennifer Barber’s most recent collection is Works on Paper (The Word Works, 2016). She is founding editor of the journal Salamander at Suffolk University.

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