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Mezzo Cammin: An Online Journal of Formalist Poetry by Women - Jones
Erin Jones


Below the chipped apartment paint, the crows
unwind their coiled hearts, restrained from squawks
or witty caws by chill. Inside them grows
a lonely thing as they are deemed the pox

that curse all sleepy towns, where neighbors take
to windows, placing blame on anything
that moves. The crows' devoted preen won't shake
the layered omens caught on tired wing,
or crease the burnished black from morbid past.

But night unfolds the thinning page of birds
or beast, unveiling a more fragile cast.
The nested warmth defies the lonely words
expelled from beak, that elemental caw,
the morning breath of crow's forsaken drawl.


Ingest the smallest oddities inside
your soul, the traveled snail or lonely caws

of crow, their words will wash and then reside
inside our bodies. Notice all the flaws

that make our hands enslaved to touching, skin
that covers fragile bone. How tiny wings

as intricate as steam invade the tin
and rust of windows, while December brings

a cool exhale erasing what was there.
We watch the spiders wrap their webs around

the things we love; each sentiment is rare
and disappears into the nourished ground.

Take between your teeth without a question
the thoughts that turn poetic from digestion.

To Keep a Poet Warm

I try to wash the oils from my hair
and wipe the puddled moods that gather deep
beneath my eyes. I leave my body bare
and wet, while gold titmice still warm from sleep

uncurl themselves along my window sill.
I make the morning motions, steeping tea
and turning up the heat, and even still,
my toes don't seem to warm. But then I see

my life: the piecemeal pages, gentle nest
that builds from words and tiny scraps of lust.
Here, teacups are the home where lips can rest,
and objects grow resplendent in their rust.
The furnace sighs and lets the light air swarm--
but it's not heat that keeps a poet warm.


Erin Jones is the 2011 winner of The Lyric's national undergraduate poetry competition, and the 2011 second prize winner of the national Iris N. Spencer Awards. She has work forthcoming in The Lyric, Tower Journal, Tar River Poetry, and Victorian Violet Press Journal. She is a recent graduate of West Chester University, where she majored in sociology and minored in creative writing. Twice a featured reader at the West Chester University Poetry Center, she will be attending the Juniper Institute at the University of Massachusetts this June.


Nicole Caruso Garcia
Claudia Gary
Tracey Gratch
Kathryn Jacobs
Erin Jones
Jean Kreiling
Angela Alaimo O'Donnell
Alexandra Oliver (Featured Poet)
Liz Robbins
Doris Watts
Marly Youmans
Claire Zoghb

> A panel on The Mezzo Cammin Women Poets Timeline has been accepted at this year's Southern Women Writers Conference.
Rhea Nowak: I am always intrigued by the relationships between clarity and chaos, rhythm and awkwardness, mark and intention, presence and absence.
32 Poems
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