Jack Stewart was educated at the University of Alabama and Emory University. From 1992-95 he was a Brittain Fellow at The Georgia Institute of Technology. His work has appeared in Poetry, The American Literary Review, The Dark Horse Review, The Southern Humanities Review, and other journals and anthologies, most recently in New Welsh Reader and Image. He lives in Coconut Creek, Florida.
Islands of algae just off the bank,
A dead fish wedged in the broken cattails,
The shore grass slick and janky
In the rotten air—what
God would sacrifice himself for that?
It was hard to keep footing on the wet grass.
My heels dug lesions with every step. I had
Come with no purpose but to clear my head,
Let the measured hours lose focus.
In the dusk, had the water gone down less
Than the mud had risen? I think what I wanted
Was to want to go back. Holy narratives
Return to water. No birds. No overcast heron
Balancing on its secret, only silence sainting
The sky. Faith is a slick stone to stand upon.
I sat down and let the wet seep through my pants,
Felt the slime on my skin, listened to the pond barely
Shrug its shoulders. I felt the wind wince
A few times. Until I saw pity in the evidence,
That stagnant light, that sky stripped bare.