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    gray and brown painting

    Two Poems

    By James Crews

    August 12, 2020

    Altars of Attention

    Someone has stacked rock cairns
    on top of stumps and stone walls
    all along the washed-out road
    I walk this morning. Each slab
    is balanced by the other like one
    right action holding space for the next.
    But what is the message of these
    small towers shored against the
    mossy ruins of a country road?
    Are they evidence of an effort
    solid enough to withstand wind,
    lashing rain and the shrapnel
    of beer cans tossed from trucks?
    I want to kneel and touch each one,
    feel how the tip of one stone
    fits into the divot of another,
    but I don’t. Let them be altars
    of attention that testify: someone
    paused here and cared enough
    to build these things for no reason
    other than the pleasure of making them.

    Nicholas OLeary, Cairn Fog

    Nicholas O’Leary, Cairn Fog
    Image courtesy of Nicholas O’Leary

    August Morning

    Our minds give off the light
    that reveals the connections
    linking us one to the other

    like the newly risen sun
    making visible the dew-
    tipped spider webs spun

    in the fields last night:
    each shining thread drawing
    the separate blades of grass

    closer together, weaving
    a wide patchwork net
    which catches everything

    that flies into its path.

    Contributed By

    James Crews’s work has appeared in Ploughshares, Raleigh Review, and the New Republic, among other journals, and he is a regular contributor to the (London) Times Literary Supplement. His first collection of poetry, The Book of What Stays (University of Nebraska Press), won the 2010 Prairie Schooner Book Prize. He lives in Vermont.

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