Matthew Levine and Robert Haydon Jones

Matthew Levine
Inspiration piece

by Robert  Haydon Jones


A very small, very young squirrel’s frozen profile froze my glance into a
long look and held that pose so god damn long that I banged the half‐open
screen door to my roof deck just to get it going – and, boy, it skittered and
it shocked me with its bushy tail that felt more burly than bushy ‐‐ and I’m
telling you the squirrel was very young.

And then a red-breasted lark somehow flew in the open downstairs door
(our dog is very, very old) and my wife was shrieking like it was a mouse
or me with a fresh sin ‐‐ and the lark flew right on up the stairs and my
shrieking wife  followed ‐‐ and the happy ending is the lark pecked at itself
in my bathroom mirror and then flew away out that same screen door that
I  had rapped to scare the squirrel. I remember the red breast on the lark
made it seem very vulnerable.

I went on back to my chair and started to finish my morning coffee
when it occurred to me that I was very lucky that the men who
molested me, all those years ago, when I was a boy, didn’t kill me.

The more I think about it ‐‐ the luckier I feel.
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  1. Posted December 26, 2011 at 4:26 pm | #

    jittery piece. Experimental in the right way with a deadpan tone to the shock. Luck is more than relative, it is where the fresh sin and the morning coffee meet.

  2. Posted December 27, 2011 at 3:09 pm | #

    This makes me laugh. I never know where RHJ will take me in his prose. The squirrel, the lark and that vivid memory- is there a word for this type of structure? Too long to be a Haiku, but definitely not from a “normal” Western sensibility (Jonesku?).

    Beautiful painting gets you in the mood for the words.

  3. Posted December 31, 2011 at 1:39 pm | #

    Just like triggers — something seemingly unrelated whiplashes one’s memory back to nightmares all too real. The squirl made it out, the bird made it out, and the narrator, feeling lucky, made it out, too.

  4. Posted January 3, 2012 at 8:25 am | #

    Here’s Robert Frost, reborn, in a prose poem by the great Jones.

  5. Posted January 8, 2012 at 9:11 am | #

    What fun !,,,What “feeling” a little jewel.

  6. Posted January 16, 2012 at 6:41 pm | #

    Wow. Beautiful and lyrical and a page out of Joyce … Periods are overrated!

  7. Posted January 29, 2012 at 6:00 am | #

    A zinger. Makes one stop suddenly, and think of all the links between one’s experiences that never disappear.