“Stables,” oil on canvas, by Franz Marc, 1913.

by Lois P. Jones

In your next life you will be
birthed in needles
of hoarfrost, your eyes still
in the blue gauze between

this world and the next
and I will kneel so close
you will smell the hot iron
waiting to singe

your skin. You’ll hear
the crackle of the flame
and your throat will prickle
with stars. I’ll wrap your shins

in nettle and this shelter will fall
deeply into zero. This is the start
of your suffering for the children,
yours who became

the wanderers, beaten between
the withers, broken and unridable
in the world’s dark loam. There is
no animal to save you now

no purling stream to fold
shame into, not even the jackdaw
as witness, or a single crofter
awake in this cat’s eye hour.

Revenge tries on its black
bridle then drapes it over
the swinging fence.
Father, I will not take out

your eyes but I will brand you
with the word you fear
and you will wear it
and you will wear it

and give up everything to winter.

omega man

Lois P. Jones has work published or forthcoming in Tinderbox Poetry Journal as well as several anthologies including The Poet’s Quest for God (Eyewear Publishing), Wide Awake: Poetry of Los Angeles and Beyond (The Pacific Coast Poetry Series) edited by Suzanne Lummis, 30 Days (Tupelo Press), and Good-Bye Mexico (Texas Review Press). Some publications include Narrative, American Poetry Journal, One (Jacar Press), Tupelo Quarterly, The Warwick Review, Tiferet, Cider Press Review, Askew, and other journals in the United States and abroad. Lois’s poems have won honors under judges Kwame Dawes, Fiona Sampson, Ruth Ellen Kocher and others. The New Yorker staff writer Dana Goodyear selected “Ouija” as Poem of the Year in the competition sponsored by Web del Sol. She is the winner of the 2012 Tiferet Poetry Prize and the 2012 Liakoura Prize, and a seven-time Pushcart nominee. She was awarded the 2016 Bristol Poetry Prize and her work was recently shortlisted for the Bridport Prize in poetry. Lois is poetry editor at Kyoto Journal, host of KPFK’s Poets Café (Pacifica Radio), and co-host of Moonday Poetry in La Cañada, California. Her first collection of poems, Night Ladder, is Glass Lyre Press’s 2017 Book Award winner.