John Swain has an atlas of signs

Atlas of Signs

From the valley
people traveled,
the bones of cattle staked like a gate.
I sought the acerbic shade
of the manchineel tree
where sand cliffs dissolve into tides
like bronze idols or collapsing horses.
The shadow of a frigatebird armors
my already guarded face,
cinders of fresh fruit cloud the paths.
I have studied the maps
and discern vaster coordinates.
Take my hand,
light on water provides an atlas of signs
we shall interpret
before evening settles on the backs
of green dragonflies.

~ ~ ~ ~ ~

Hide and Seek Beach

Under cloud cover softness
we listen to water
leaving jade traces
over volcanic stone.
A French girl in a straw hat
remained on the shore
searching for blue gems
and shrieking at lizards.
Daniel leapt from the edge
and I leapt after
into the rolling pool
where sailors catch turtles.


* John Swain lives in Louisville, Kentucky, USA. He has previously contributed to IS&T and his first chapbook – Prominences –  has recently appeared from Flutter Press.

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