Jon Ballard


His russet face and frame have something to say,
To teach you—a stranger—about the fields
In these parts; about shoveling the world: Spring
Snow—but also post-holes, fire-pits, manure-piles,
Graves.  His wife must be in some other part
Of the old farmhouse, feeding the cats
(If they don’t have cats, you swear
You’ll turn in your cynic’s badge for good.)
Outside March wind abuses porch chimes  
Into a vexing clatter; snow is driven high
Against the grain silo, against your car—
Podgy blue carcass—at the end of the drive.  
Then the farmer’s voice: “Sleep here
On the davenport. Morning the plow’ll come.”
He brings you pillows, blankets—no sign
Of the wife—though the bedding, thin
And faded by years spent drying on
Clothes lines in the sun, is covered in
Cat hairs, red tabby you think, the wild
Orange of Garfield the Cat, of this twilight.

Jon Ballard

Jon Ballard is a poet as well as an occasional literature instructor for Oakland Community College in Royal Oak, Michigan.  Currently he lives in Mexico City, Mexico.  His poems have previously appeared in Soundings East, Riverrun,The Old Red Kimono, SP Quill, The MacGuffin,The Dande Review, Boxcar Poetry Review, Poetry Midwest, and The Centrifugal Eye. His work is forthcoming in The Rock Salt Plum Review, Subtletea, and The Valparaiso Poetry Review.  His first chapbook, Lonesome, from Pudding House Publications, is due out this year.



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