Raina Joines: “Shadowcasting”


I cross the field, a field in autumn’s flux,

a half-lit range of blooms and blades that paints

my ankles. I crack a bottle, drink it down,

and with a vintage year hot in my veins,

I watch bats unclot and fly. I’m alone.

All those known to me are gone, bright flecks

collected on the wind and left to flock

my memory, or burrs, whose hooked tines

I carry on my cuffs until they catch

a stalk and flower on a farther plain.

There’s no gain here but the light’s wave across

my face, the burst and flash of sun inside

the leaves’ green cells, the violet coil

above the day’s last flame. Then it’s gone.

The sky behind me yawns to gulp the night.

On the ridge, a grove of trees bends in

the wind as if the wind will never stop

or as if it stops but they keep on,

as geese fly until they find their home,

or shades crowd the line at Acheron.

Raina Joines has received residencies from Blue Mountain Center, the Hambidge Center for Creative Arts and Sciences, and the Lillian E. Smith Center. Her work may be found in Chattahoochee Review, Crab Orchard Review, Painted Bride Quarterly, I-70 Review, and Grist: A Journal of the Literary Arts.

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