James Owens lives in New Carlisle, Ind. Two books of his poems have been published: An Hour is the Doorway (Black Lawrence Press) and Frost Lights a Thin Flame (Mayapple Press). His poems, reviews, and translations have appeared widely in literary journals. He walks in the dunes along the southern shore of Lake Michigan and watches the waves and the gulls.
Things The Blue Turtle Spoke to Her
after photographs by Roxana Ghița
light cut you open
light flaked from the water like the pressure of breath on skin.
the sky aged to jeweler’s metals
and the gold and copper wires of the season
tightened flesh against the bones
beauty moved in the flesh like surprise, in marrow
it rippled on the surfaces of things.
this looking was a way of measuring time
as the silk merchants of the desert measure silk
an arm’s length that shimmers all night in the eyes
we dreamed these colors were Nineveh,
then that the memory of beauty