Poems by Jonathan Dubow

Chance meeting with my primitive ancestor


The barbed awns of her beard caught pollens
which ants carried into her mouth.
She devoted almost twice as much time to swallowing as I do,
and when she swallowed, the velum that was the centerpiece of her palate
surged out of her lips. She had fifty teeth.
She was immune to the pitviper that she grasped in the coils of her arms.
She crawled upward with overhand strokes
as if swimming on the skin of its belly.
As though she were my contemporary she feigned the fire and its shadow.
Her nipples were six bulblets of wild onion. She ate animal
but only at night, with her eyes open, riding on their mother’s back.
I was certain she was about to die. For days I waited.


The cup, bound by caterpillar silk, hangs in the fork between two worlds


Tonight, if you live in the north, you’ll plant hardnecked garlic,
face a mystery with no luck
and sweep away the winged samaras of the maples.
Someone dead will appear one last time.
Fishes will feed on the carcasses of deer
and on the gut piles of unsuccessful hunters.
You’ll hang your predators on thorns.
The prophet will turn the porcupine on its back
and feed on the unprotected belly,
heart, lungs and liver.

With the vanguard finally reaching Pennsylvania
where your bed is lined with hair,
you’ll sing the forty locutions.
Should the prophet ingest a few quills,
they will be expelled in his feces and
within 53 days become hurricanes.

Jonathan Dubow lives in Carlisle, Pennsylvania and teaches at Shippensburg University. He has recent poetry in Devil’s Lake, Grist: A Journal of Literary Arts, Waccamaw, and elsewhere.




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