Jeff Hardin

Standing in a Center That is Too Often Tuneless

Pilgrimage,
I assume you have a spot for me near the back of the line?
Oh, I’m fond of thinking my conclusions have built a cosmos.
Is curiosity a metaphysics,
or is it a garden after harvest?

*

How many verbs are jostling for position in this current delay?
We’re wandering around in sackcloth apparently unaware.
Maybe it’s a good thing
we’re as perishable as ferns on the pathway.

*

The center I stand in is too often tuneless,
steps from a ledge.
Be careful not to fall into the hollow inside one’s name.
The Reformation began with a maple leaf
placed on a neighborhood stream.

*

Transition, whenever you’re ready,
usher us out of the staid and the worn.

My Life According to a Bowl of Rainier Cherries

And then…and then…
and the words just hang lonesome on the air.
Everything in an instant changes—but the question’s what happens to willingness.
The blank spaces added together
won’t equal how the lighthouse scans the dark.

*

How are we not like water-striders
at the edge of the current’s pull?
I hate to keep insisting, but weeds in a ditch row are all we have said.
If only a person could migrate from repetition
to once and for all and clearly.

*

Held just so, one’s own death appears as an adornment.
Whatever the ransom asks for,
let’s add the lilies and the lilac bush.
Truth,
just once let me hold you like a bowl of Ranier cherries.

*

Even breathing has scaffolds inside I feel myself
epiphanically climbing.

Out by the Pond, Another Life Beginning

Cascade,
stay a while—to where must you rush away?
Epicurus, though I’m here, alive, a death means something to me.
I’m the one out prospecting
without direction or a bowl.

*

Finding
wants nothing left behind, nothing forsaken.
Out by the night pond another life might be beginning.
If the sequence loses count,
an abiding shall remember.

*

The two visit in dreams, alongside a river, bending to stones.
From the past comes that word again: “ongoing.”
And Poetry lay its head down
on the broken one’s limb.

*

Some heard sorrow, some lightness, some nearness,
some wandering off…

Jeff Hardin is the author of five collections of poetry, most recently Restoring the Narrative (2015 Donald Justice Prize) and Small Revolution. His fifth collection, No Other Kind of World, received the 2016 X. J. Kennedy Prize. The New Republic, The Hudson Review, The Southern Review, Southwest Review, North American Review, The Gettysburg Review, Poetry Northwest, Hotel Amerika, and Southern Poetry Review have published his poems. He teaches at Columbia State Community College in Columbia, TN.
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About Posit Editor

Susan Lewis (susanlewis.net) is the editor of Posit (positjournal.com) and the author of ten books and chapbooks, including Zoom, winner of the 2017 Washington Prize, Heisenberg's Salon, This Visit, and State of the Union. Her poetry has appeared in such places as The Awl, Berkeley Poetry Review, Boston Review, The Brooklyn Rail, Cimarron, Gargoyle, The Journal, New American Writing, The New Orleans Review, Prelude, Raritan, Seneca Review, So to Speak, Verse, Verse Daily, and VOLT.