ISSUE  1   2   3   4   SUBMIT

from "Boy Scouts in Russia, 1926"

Jay Thomas


avenue lined with shops and a little color
just flew overhead     you know

the old saying: this water forms
a gauntlet
                all travelers must run

you keep your eyes hidden as the rays
of the station lights    expressionless

lips can’t ensure entrance to the universal
feeling of awe much less a quick nod

from the boy beside you


stars & fields about him (planted

less with grain than the rattling
of horses’ feet): mere

connectors between sides
of summer night stark

& gaunt, you cross
a mark that stands
for the grey half-light

breaking across
your opposite faces


of twin suspicious looks
& mutterings, of bugle races –

he stands up threateningly
a few feet to the right

it’s as if you’ve been asleep for several hours

           in the dream a boy his own age leans
           toward you holding two sticks    snaps

           them in half, scatters

you offer a slice of fruit
with delicate spotted

evening, refreshed, huge
loaves of bread

baked while the whole clumsy
-looking apparatus (but it only looks

clumsy, you insist, this is part of war
this thickening of the countryside)