"Solace of the Foreign"

Jon Thompson


To find the words, the task nothing less than

            rendering a world into them; as in

the sunlight on the street with the four-dolphin fountain dazzled—

            the narrow cobblestone streets of the old city yield

to more water fountains &

            it catches the arced streams of water

creating a new sense of space,

            a space of simple revelation,

allowing for delight in the daily routines

            of old streets squares & parks,

the brightness clarifying the singular & the many,

            which makes possible, in the end,

the fundamental desire for congregation.

            We wake into brilliance & try to find

the words for what's there,    

            the narrow streets that twist and turn into days, 

days that turn into other days,

            the struggle to find words for what's happened

the country that grows more unfamiliar with time,

            the struggle to find words for the simple testimony of tree shadows     

swaying on the street

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Author Bio: Jon Thompson teaches at North Carolina State University where he edits Free Verse: A Journal of Contemporary Poetry & Poetics and Free Verse Editions, a poetry series. His most recent book is Notebook of Last Things, out in April of 2019 from Shearsman Books. More on him at www.jon-thompson.net.