D. R. James has taught college writing, literature, and peace-making for 36 years and lives in the woods near Saugatuck, Michigan, USA. His most recent of nine collections are Flip Requiem (Dos Madres Press, 2020), Surreal Expulsion (The Poetry Box, 2019), and If god were gentle (Dos Madres Press, 2017), and his micro-chapbook All Her Jazz is free, fun, and printable-for-folding at the Origami Poems Project.

After the Gale

Ivory spines disguise the oaks’ south sides,
slivers of sunshine lightening their rough
trunks. What furrowed pallor, what dignity:
spires anchored to all others underneath,
delight clad in the plucked bones of winter.
What diligence, what staid bystanding: a
throng of distinct ascetics, enmeshed horde
of collective loners. It’s as if they
are avowing how steadfastness, resumed,
enroots in you your essential locale.

—first published in MORIA

Wait for It

The forecast hovers between soggy and
gratitude, verges on awe, balances
muted light against lopsided gladness.
Meanwhile (though Cosmos clatters its remote
stones, and Existence casts its Theater
of the Unheard from among the docile),
the man’s morning’s pouring itself into
day—and he stares off, fathoming the frayed
front sliding past outside has flagged in him
imponderable streaks of fleeting joy.

—first published in Red River Review

On Velvet Island

Attar from a trellis sifting onto
the yard, suffused with a cure for the caged
mind cycling mindlessly, and buffets of
birdsong unhinging the accord between
brain haze and conflux of the flustered streams
of vexed schemes. Trees tell me to stroke my beard!
All day I tend the flock, soothe the startled
ruffs above their vestments, their opera down
to pure lilt, their voltage to no-danger
zones. I ransom time from mocking desire.

—first published in Main Street Rag