Burning sun on the horizon

Four Poems by Ever Jones

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the sun made itself to burn

                a long death, a cloud around the equator

                                                                    my waist

                                                          a stone
                                              the poem stalls

                tender skin

horizons want resources for the human wish

                see the sun lower golden pennies

                                 see me walk there offering peonies         
                                                                       an invocation

                                 through a sheath of violence orbiting my body, my body

                the sex of sunlight
                the gender of bone

i see dead
trans bodies
as crushed stars on snowshadows

                (there’s a feeling here
                don’t name it)

i see the living
trans bodies
as crushed stars putting away the hammer



raven’s wings press the living
into evening’s long shadows

               that unhinge from the meadow as coffin lids
               might open for the one with sorrow

                             have you wondered how the raven’s human voice

                                           is an usher

                                                         in this stadium of suns?

                             the shadows walk—or is it float?—to the creek

               where the salmon were, and kneel into its scrapbook

                             of lives neatly fixed at the corners

               the light of billion-year-old plankton unfolds
               its singular cell into a mirror of spines

have you wondered why we follow the raven
to the other side of night

                             while it has little care for our created

                                           world, spare a few scraps

                             on the surface of our knowing?



Coyote howl softens the air into aria

             & an apple thumps the ground with nightsong

                        we don’t know why the leaf suddenly shivers

                        or which paw snapped the blackened stick

            but we stay in their echoes until the wound

passes like a sieve of humid air

            i am loved here

                        in the moon’s half-phase

                                    you shining the stars for me

                        making the galaxy just another walk to the sink

            in this new light an owl settles on the ledge beyond sight

                                    giving me a silence far more salient than any word



in this new night pronouns unbecome the body

              letters shake loose their coats into ravens
              slanting syntax under feathers

                           pull each system from your/self

                           noxious weeds     strangling     the cedar

                                        punctuation’s     teeth
                                                                       in the ground

& unwind the human gaze leveraging gravity
into supremacy

when Goddess Diamond picks up the letters
in the new sunrise

                                        see a prism of curves

                           each serif a hooking talon
                           every comma a new way to feel rain




Ever JonesEver Jones (they/them pronouns) is a queer/trans writer, artist, and instructor based in Seattle. They are the author of three poetry collections, including nightsong (Sundress Publications), in which these poems can be found. They are professor of creative writing at the University of Washington Tacoma. Please find them at everjones.com.

Read more poetry by Ever Jones appearing in Terrain.org: “Red Song of the Passenger Pigeon” and four poems.

Header photo by CS Stock, courtesy Shutterstock.

Terrain.org is the world’s first online journal of place, publishing a rich mix of literature, art, commentary, and design since 1998.