Back to Issue Seventeen.

the plot



It wasn’t yet despair.

As if returning, they ducked
beneath branches, strolled
toward a cabin, a lake, heard the complaint

of rope as a small boat
knocked against a dock.

These must have been
what earlier generations called copses, fens,

rutting bucks, spotted does. The powdered
light parsed by grasses fabled
that plot as history.

Had they the patience of ruin, of the soil’s humid
seeds, they might have found the land less

a scribble of roots, less painted or posed,
found their sweating sex less

its edict than the curled and dotted
punctuation turning sense to query—

Within that tableau, the canopy
diffusing into its crowned distinctions.

The clouds silvering in the noon’s cobalt inclinations.

A hawk pinwheeling. A field mouse or vole.

And the sky palpable, like a question they had failed to ask.


Jordan Windholz is the author of Other Psalms (University of North Texas Press, 2015), selected by Averill Curdy for the Vassar Miller Prize in Poetry. His poems have appeared in Best New PoetsBarrow Street, Cincinnati ReviewBoston Review, and 32 Poems, amongst other publications. He is an assistant professor of British renaissance literature at Shippensburg University in Pennsylvania. He can be found online at

< Previous (Terrell Jamal Terry)

 Next (M.K. Foster) >