John Hoppenthaler: “Eureka Springs”



circa 1879


After the miracle, we returned to our lives,
that difficult labor rebuilding the village
one stone at a time. It wasn’t as we’d arrived.
Tempted by lore, we didn’t see it as pillage,

how we left no place on earth free of our steps. Yes,
enticed by the magnetic power of the springs,
the promise of a cure for advancing blindness,
we staked pale tents, seemingly remnants of white clouds

dropped from the blue skies fair weather brings, curious
blessings. But it was trickster, and the shapeshifting
began. Those rags begot cabins; nefarious
winds blew; skies darkened, the pall of hucksters drifting.

This new vision was just sightlessness reinscribed.
After the miracle, we returned to our lives.


John Hoppenthaler’s books of poetry are Domestic Garden, Anticipate the Coming Reservoir, Lives of Water, and the forthcoming Night Wing Over Metropolitan Area, all with Carnegie Mellon University Press. With Kazim, Ali, he has co-edited a volume of essays on the poetry of Jean Valentine, This-World Company (University of Michigan Press). Professor of Creative Writing and Literature at East Carolina University, he also serves on the Advisory Board for Backbone Press, specializing in the publication and promotion of marginalized voices. His poetry, essays, and interviews have appeared in Ploughshares, Virginia Quarterly Review, New York Magazine, Southern Review, Poetry Northwest, Blackbird, Southern Humanities Review, The Literary Review, and many other journals, anthologies, and textbooks.

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