3 poems by Joel Harris


I wake and realize

my dream has frozen the rain–
it goes popping and taps

up on the window
as ice becomes coal

then diamond,
snapping, cracking

on glass and frame.
Smiling, proud, I

shake off the smoke
and shrug out from under you,
your voice now a

‘scrim of rain,’ receding:
reticent, toothless,

clipping softly in my thigh,
a distant nod of the head

but no sure command.
I smile again; and,

noting what does not belong,
I throw you off.



A look from a Mexican boy,

helping his mother through a ditch,

on the way home, para la casa.

His eyes say,

“I’m strong.

         I would die defending her.”

Now, like this, I am strong.

Nothing can touch us;

right now, my hand on

your arm.


Free Rides Across Rivers

One time we ran from

spiders and stinging things;

certainly we were afraid

and none would put a word to

the contrary. It was simply this–

wive’s tales and fables aside,

we were not swift to deign

in free rides across rivers;

we knew it as basal guarantee.

A rusty abdomen, the promise

of black wings and a hooked belly

would straight up put the

knot of truth in one’s hand,

leg or eye. We counted on this

and thereby avoided it.

So now i think it odd that

I must restrain myself,

seeing that single red imp

working it’s way above my

smoke and constant passing,

odd that i must put reign to

the hand, lest it should move

of it’s own and cup the beast–

wanting the sure and known,

the perfect singing load

of nested, brilliant and unspent



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Jeremiah Walton

Jeremiah Walton is wary of writing a bio.

2 thoughts on “3 poems by Joel Harris”

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