Two Poems

By Jonathan Rowe

Sharing Heat 

Night falling like a veil 
forces us there— 
a black gas heater’s 
grated mouth 
flicking tongues of flames. 

On June evenings, Johannesburg’s 
highveld wind cracks its frigid whip, 
intrudes through hollow walls 
and unsealed outdoor openings, 
kills warmth in cold blood. 

In our household, sharing heat is ritual. 
We each perform observant acts: 
My mother huddles against my father’s 
chest, sister lies on the carpet prone, 
feet close enough to court burns, 
I sway backward and forward 
to keep hands from turning blue. 

In that pall of darkness 
long sleeves and blankets 
I yearn for morning light, 
distant as rain in cloudless skies, 
and June evenings in Boston 
where screen windows invited 
in more mosquitos than breeze, 
and we gathered around a box 
fan humming in one direction. 



Osnaburg shirts hide
striped, shining arms
hauling spires,
crucifixes, oak
shingles into place.

On Sunday morning,
mosaic light illuminates
eyes raised in prayer,
unaware of names
sealed in plastered walls,
wood pews & nave––

Stephen     Jackson 
Whitney   Grace

In a cabin one mile away,
builders barred from worship
lift hands, holler & sway,
enraptured by The Spirit, moving
like a cool, damp cloth
over a lashed back burning.

Jonathan Rowe is a writer and copyeditor raised between Boston, Massachusetts, and Johannesburg, South Africa. His work is published or forthcoming in perhappend, The Curator, Boston Art ReviewGood Cop/Bad Cop: An Anthology by FlowerSong Press, and elsewhere. You can learn more about Jonathan’s work on his website: www.jonathanrowewrites.com, or by following him through Twitter @jwrowe93 and Instagram @jwinstonrowe.

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