Poetry by Jed Myers

Read More: A brief interview with Jed Myers

A Day Made of Atoms Like Ours 
for Katie Bouman, Black Hole Initiative

I like the idea. All our forms fall
into a thirsty black eye and disappear

no one knows where, into the never
was—the bone saws, outlaw sons-in-law,

the gerrymanderers’ mazes, Nebraska
missile silos, bump stocks and stockyards,

and yes, I suppose, hares’ ears,
red sea anemones, egrets’ beaks, you

and me, shredded, our particles blended
into a thick spun purée with car bombs

sarin and stolen plutonium pouring
out of this world, down through the whirling

clown-eye ring of maniacal photons
bent by immense disappeared mass

into a great ring of light, gateway
to another cosmos we might guess.

Let our flags our stealth alloy airships
and god icons fall, alright, and whelk shells,

and spring’s star magnolia galaxies
out of the earth and the foothills’ red-gold

flows of infinite poppies. So go
our old goat hide scrolls and crosses across

that unblinking aperture,
                                       where I imagine
a kid wakes on a sun-washed morning,

a day made of atoms like ours,
and rides out among his town’s human

complexions, maize, chartreuse, obsidian…
range of a rainforest’s plumage.


Nearing the After 

There’s time. Mom’s losing
blood in her urine, it might be
a malignant erosion, but we spoke
last night on the phone, and she laughed
recalling her first dances with Dad—

laughed hard enough she coughed, and I thought
she’ll crack a rib like that, hard enough
I imagined Dad could hear as he strolled
the unmowed grass between the rows of old
stones out at Har Yehuda—laughed

to remember how boyish and brash
he was, how hard she fell and never turned
back though his folks made of her life
a living hell. She said that and laughed.
There’s time. Though she never forgives him

and secretly never herself, she can tell
I keep dulling the blades for her
with my listening. And she hears
a little each call about the kids—Taiwan,
Tarot, piano—I know it salves

the persistent fissures of her bitterness
some. And we both know, the after,
whether it comes in the form of fog
or agonal storm, will lift and we won’t
find her, sky as our witness.


Poem for My Country  

Not far from my city, I walked under tall trees
by a river whose name soon escaped me.

Silty-green eddies, white froth dressing
the rocks, flat current over what I thought

must be the depths, a riffle dazzled
the shallows. I lost perspective

to the strobe of the wind-shaken maples’
foliage fringing the shore. Were they swallows

who sped and veered, who caught the living
dust of the hovering bug constellations?

A few splashes some yards upriver,
little eruptions of silver, what might be

a fish, I bent for a better look under
a branch, and saw on the edge up ahead

a kid spin a flat rock to skip, and it did.
What country is this? A moment in wonder,

no answer. The water coursed past
in and out of the bright and the dark, I heard

the elements’ vigorous frictions, dignified
groans of the cedars and firs, and imagined

the current grinding away at the stones.
What country is this? Perhaps it is known

to the singing boughs spread over the banks,
to the stones, or the invisible fish.


Through the Blows  

I’ve come out in a hard slant rain,
down into the ravine, and planted

my soles in the creek bed’s mud
till the wet cold’s inside my bones,

to learn, from where the roots hide,
how the maples and firs can stand

the years of storms, how they lean
in give with the wind, hold firm,

bear the fallen clouds in their limbs
and are never toppled to ground

till they’re ancestor old. I’ll need
some human kind of rootedness

to live through the blows to come,
to not have my hope thrown down.


Jed Myers is author of Watching the Perseids(winner of the Sacramento Poetry Center Book Award), The Marriage of Space and Time (MoonPath Press), and four chapbooks, including Dark’s Channels (winner of the Iron Horse Literary Review Chapbook Award) and Love’s Test (winner of the Grayson Books Chapbook Competition). Recent recognitions include the Prime Number Magazine Award for Poetry, The Southeast Review’s Gearhart Poetry Prize, and The Tishman Review’s Edna St. Vincent Millay Poetry Prize. Recent poems appear in Rattle, Poetry Northwest, The American Journal of Poetry, Southern Poetry Review, and elsewhere. He is Poetry Editor for the journal Bracken.

“A Day Made of Atoms Like Ours,” “Nearing the After,” “Poem for My Country,” and “Through the Blows” won the 2019 Editor’s Reprint Award and originally appeared in Poets Reading the News, Natural Bridge, The American Journal of Poetry, and West Texas Literary Review, respectively. 

Read More: A brief interview with Jed Myers