ONE POEM – James Ducat

Photo by Jacob Kannel on Unsplash

You Must Stop Telling the Story of When You Were Eight

My friend the tarot reader repeats,
but she is a little drunk,
translucent fingers unfurling,
while shade, levered by branches,

scrolls across a fulcrum of leaves.
Wind debrides the season
of fallen leaves and other necroses.
The boy is just sinew in a dry wind.

And on the north side of Grinnell Mountain,
Trees like hat racks drip branches,
fallen ash, shrunken skeleton.

What wound desire opens
in a mourning dove’s throat,
what gash of necessity exits
the scrub jay rattling in the camellia.




James Ducat’s work has appeared in CutBank, Apogee, Spoon River Poetry Review, Word Riot, and others. Workshops include the Tin House Writers Workshop (with Ada Limón and Matthew Dickman), and Napa Valley Writers Workshop (with DA Powell). James received his MFA from Antioch University Los Angeles and is associate professor of English at Riverside City College, where he co-advises MUSE, the literary magazine of RCC. He lives with his son and dog in a house painted pink.

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