Jed Myers lives in Seattle. He is author of Watching the Perseids (Sacramento Poetry Center Book Award), The Marriage of Space and Time (MoonPath Press, forthcoming), and two chapbooks. Recent honors, aside from The Southeast Review’s Gearhart Prize, include the Prime Number Magazine Award for Poetry and The Tishman Review’s Edna St. Vincent Millay Poetry Prize. Recent poems can be found in Rattle, Poetry Northwest, Southern Poetry Review, The Greensboro Review, Terrain.org, Valparaiso Poetry Review, Solstice, Canary, and elsewhere. He is Poetry Editor for the journal Bracken.
"The Truth Takes Lunch" was the winner of the 2017 Gearhart Poetry Prize, published in The Southeast Review Vol. 36.1
The Truth Takes Lunch
I’m the tide rising higher, acidified
shoals, young oyster shells decomposed.
And the odd legions of rain last week
off the sea that settled your dust,
and, yes, mine are the clear-cuts’
mudslides. I’m the buried road.
Try to keep me in line. I twist
like a river. I don’t follow your signs.
I’m old as the asteroids’ ice
in your blood. Young as a thought. I quote
Noah’s dove—out over the flood
between these edifices, a leaf,
or is it a shred of document tossed
aloft on the turbulence, it flickers
chaotically toward you, and you take it
as meant. A message I’ve sent. Well,
I do watch the poles melt. I wash
the drowned white bear’s bones. I swallow
the earth-burners’ plumes, and blow
the ten million prisoners’ whispers through
the trees where you take your lunch. Listen—
I give you the gunman’s leer
like another leaf, this one in the pond
of the lens of the dead man’s camera.
I am that membranous small egg of space
that holds the fallen apple’s seed
through the season of rot. And I’m the lace
of interstices in the soil—I sip
the brook’s trickle into the dark
to the roots of the lost man’s shade. I am
your thirst for one more gust off the river
before your device warns you you must
get to the elevator and press
on in your service. I’m your delay,
the extra seconds your eye’s on the blaze
the sun makes of the surface, the water
a starry display. The toddler’s face,
her chin milk-wet on a sleeveless shoulder.
And I’m the blades of afternoon light
that will slice the air of the hearing chamber.
Silent gavel out of the sky
like a meteor, I’ll rupture the idol
the lie in a register you can’t hear.
I’m the spring in the breast of the mountain
you’ll climb through the mud and gravel
to gather and sing, to drink
my cold clear mineral question
out of the core of the world. It could be
quick as a screech of brakes, or soon
as you step off on the wrong floor.