Offcourse Literary Journal
ISSN 1556-4975 

Four Poems, by J.R. Solonche.



It cannot be a quest
because he would refuse
the hero's portion

It cannot be a circle
because he would refuse
the returning

It cannot be a river
because he would refuse
the drifting down

It cannot be an ocean
because he would refuse
the counting of degrees

It cannot be a mountain
because he would refuse
the leaving of the valley

It cannot be a crossing
because he would refuse
the learning of the languages

It cannot be a search
because he would refuse
the opening of the eyes



So supple, so pliable,
she seems to have no skeleton,
or one made of rubber.

Human origami,
folded into a stork,
balancing on one leg.

Unfolded, refolded
into a sequined
quadruped, head

in the center
of a square of feet.
Arched over, arched

under, bent and re-bent,
stretched to the breaking point but
never breaking.

This is
how the rest of us
contort our souls.




I look for it all day in vain.
It comes to me at last by itself

This is a couplet by a Chinese poet
on the difficulty of finding good lines.

When someone joked, This is a description
of a lost cat
, everyone had a good laugh.




At the road's edge,
after last night's rainstorm,
a broken eggshell.

And above the highest branches
of the pines and ash trees,
a clear blue, deep blue, clean blue
sky, cloudless, as full

of clear, clean blue as a bottle of ink,
still new and unopened.
The broken eggshell

is the white of cheap white
typing paper,
the white of the starched white
shirts I wore as a boy to school.



J.R. Solonche is coauthor of PEACH GIRL: POEMS FOR A CHINESE DAUGHTER (Grayson Books). His work has been appearing in magazines, journals and anthologies since the early 1970s. He teaches at SUNY Orange in Middletown, NY.


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