John Ronan: "Wallpaper"




Aardvark’s ahead of Bee and Cat, Donkey

In the sunfast jungle, spelled animals who stop

At white panels of wallpaper, accept

Briefly their tame, burdened purpose, and recede:

The way a Cheshire cat leaves its teeth,

Aardvark leaves an A.  The lesson develops—

The wide meaning on a legend-layered map,

Unseen, rising finally to the regardless eye.

The creatures themselves continue naïve as Genesis:

Lamb knows nothing, the Nightingale nothing.

Their images thin and turn, trailing off

Into the fog of the white wall, free and fabulous.

In their wake, in the kids’ clean room, a bewildering

Kingdom of names and knowledge, a belled self.



John Ronan's recent book, Marrowbone Lane, appeared in 2009 (Backwaters Press). His work has appeared in numerous journals, including Folio, Threepenny Review, The Recorder, Hollins Critic, New England Review, Southern Poetry Review, Louisville Review, Greensboro Review, and Notre Dame Review.