Lois P. Jones's work won honors in the 2021 Bridport Poetry Prize and is forthcoming in the Bridport Poetry Anthology. She was a winning finalist for the 2018 Terrain Poetry Contest judged by Jane Hirshfield. Other awards include the 2018 Lascaux Single Poem Prize, the 2017 Bristol Poetry Prize judged by Liz Berry and the Tiferet Poetry Prize. Jones has work published or forthcoming in Poetry Wales, Plume, Guernica Editions 2021, Vallentine Mitchell of London2021, Verse Daily, and Narrative. Jones’ first collection, “Night Ladder” was published by Glass Lyre Press in 2017 and listed for several awards. Jones is the poetry editor of Kyoto Journal and a reader for the Kingsley-Tufts Awards.

To Scatter at Descanso Gardens
    Cuando yo me muera,
    enterradme si queris en una veleta.
    Cuando yo me muera! ~ Lorca

When evening arrives
as a stranger in velvet slippers
it has no shadow
         but you panic
at your mirrored reflection
in the dark.
It feels like death—
a spider waiting
and when you leave
        this body
it will weave you
into forgetting.
But you want to remember all
        you’ve ever been
a Buddha beneath
the Bodhi tree.
Watch your lives
      burn away
like a great forest
            then the calm
                       the ash.
the gardener says
            he’ll find you again,
when he’s troweled
the upper fields
            and dug the weeds away.
      He’ll talk to you
so you’ll never be lonely.
He knows how deer leap
            the fence
in the closed hours
to graze on the sweetest grasses.
            How the ghosts
of the scrub oaks wander.
There are nights
when the moon slips off
            its white coat
and every wild thing
stirs in its cauldron.
When the wind rattles
      the leaves
you’ll be buried like Lorca
in a weather vane—
the one that stands
near the fiery maple
            how it turns and turns
toward the stars.

Winning Finalist : Terrain.org 9th Annual Contest in Poetry

Only the Moon Holds Her Exits and Entrances, Muzot 1921

I don’t believe what my body says –
the whole of me too tall for most men,
my voice a wounded animal. A body that holds
forks and knives
and pokers for the fire – blue coals
alive as dusk.
I don’t believe its cries and moans
and cracks of thunder hushed between the lips.

If an orchid transforms from hard bulb
by the grace of rain and light, let it find
flowering in the moist ground
of your silence. Let it bloom not
from photosynthesis but desire.

And let this body enter holding love
under the tongue –
its sublingual light. A faint disc against
the shift to rose, dissolving and lighting
this throat.

Let the body be
the beautiful, dark butterfly
coming significantly and expressly
toward you from the dimly shining windows

in a ballroom of guests. Let me slip between
the cracks of your closed door
to be touched
the way the butterfly holds
your finger
landing soft as sorrow

as rain

Italicized portions are Rilke’s
Published in Another Chicago Magazine

Frida’s Glove, Chateau Muzot, Summer 1922
The poet ... Rilke enjoyed donning his maid’s suede gloves and dusting ...
furniture in the wee hours of the morning like caressing the body of a lover.
"After this," he said, "there’s nothing that you do not know!"

~ The Poetics of Space, Bachelard

There was a candle burning inside my brow. I could not pinch its
flame so I crept out of the fevered bed to the forest of our floors and
their cool against my feet. Green and green again all emerald like
buttons sewn on our felt tree. It was just a hand at first, moving up
the velvet drapes, independent as a whistle from nowhere and then
the thin figure of a man emerged slightly from this stage, the fingers
and thumb gliding up the drape’s edge. Something at the wrist. A
thickness between the fingers, like a new skin, a fourchette with a
slight webbing that layered the delicate hand. My suede glove touched
an edge then moved slowly up the plaited cord, then down. A finger
drew the line of its own profile from forehead to neck and I felt as if
he traced my own throat, down to the clavicle then up again to the
edge of my left lobe. Shivering, the moon shook too, so sewn to the
poet’s mind, that the fabric of our scene tilted, then buried itself in
the night’s seam.

* Frida Baumgartner was Rilke’s housekeeper from 1921 until
1926 just before he died.

Published in Plume


Lois P. Jones
Photo credit by Lia Brooks, 2017



© 2021 Lois P. Jones


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