paul jones

by Paul Jones

The cardinal crashing into my window
can never love himself. His feathered anger
collides with his imaged others everywhere.
Each small injury, every loud thunk, the fault
of something or some red bird outside himself.
That scarlet stain and that fluff smeared on the pane,
they mark who is to blame for crossing the lines,
coming over the boundary of scrub pines,
count the cost of having to defend his nest.
And the rest? The birds in other windows?
Wherever he goes they are there full plumage,
full rancor, full stare. Insistent as tides,
crashing again and again, they demand
the clash of beak again beak, wings’ fury,
sortie, sally, assault. He, the one who keeps
his own disdain locked in his chest, an unmapped
treasure both unknown and unfound, must attack.
He can not be done until they all fall.
They will not fall, until they all fall as one.


Published in Cider Press Review, Volume 23, Issue 2.

paul jonesPaul Jones has published poetry widely. Recently, he was nominated for two Pushcart Prizes and two Best of the Web Award. His chapbook, What the Welsh and Chinese Have in Common, was a North Carolina Writers’ Network award winner. A manuscript of his poems landed on the moon’s surface April 11, 2019 as part of Arch Mission’s Lunar Library delivered by SpaceIL’s Beresheet lander. Jones is the director of, a contributor-run, digital library of public domain and creative commons media begun over 25 years ago. He is also Clinical Professor in the School of Information and Library Science at the University of North Carolina.

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