ONE POEM – James Owens

William Henry Holmes, Playing with the Colours via Smithsonian American Art Museum

Notes on the Morning


pale sun after rain,
shadows come back shyly—
they’ve been washed

even when I bow politely,
this caterpillar strutting on the path
doesn’t step aside

a crow flaps over,
cawing to every ear in the woods,
He’s right here!

the squirrel gathering acorns—
does he ever laugh
about the forests he has devoured?

brown, leathery mushrooms rot to stinking goo—
that’s okay; 
they’ve done their part

grouse,
this poem will never be famous—
it’s just between us

James Owens’s newest book is ‘Family Portrait with Scythe’ (Bottom Dog Press, 2020). His poems and translations appear widely in literary journals, including recent or upcoming publications in Grain, Dalhousie Review, Presence, Queen’s Quarterly, and Honest Ulsterman. He earned an MFA at the University of Alabama and lives in a small town in northern Ontario, Canada.

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