Poetry from Jason Adam Sheets

Something Tender Then Will Leap
Brian Despain painting of rabbit with cornet on ear
Should the sun
set sideways
in the midst
of our scattered parts:
let us hook a fish
from a clear river
of stars
watering clockwise
thought-flowers sufficient
as becomings belong
to the shape of living things.
Let us tend to the song
of the sunken stones.
Let us quietly color
olive or cherry
that which we
long to outlive—
something tender
then will leap:
a secret rabbit
in silvery Time
We have
only this much
in common:
we came
then became
keepers of things.
You set fire
to a wreck of dire roses
and flickered
like an ever-burning lamp
fueled by the charm
of a deeper system.
I plucked wild pearls
from the quick ends
of branches
as desire became
that which turned widely
to diminish—
that which became
an altar became
altered became
a quiet turning
between two mirrors.
Let us wonder
if the painter of whorls
will spill a rivered thing
once more
from where
we have hidden ourselves
in the making
before the parts
that have already been—
Lock and Basil
There is a room
in my House of Haunts
that is as thirsty
as Eden’s tongue.
The door
has long since locked.
The knob’s dulled.
I jam a skeleton key
into the warded lock.
My metallic desire
does not catch.
It is chewed
by a hollow tooth
damning to click—
Through the keyhole
I see a photo of you
picking fresh basil
next to a photo of
me picking this lock
from the other side.
Painting by Brian Despain

Jason Adam Sheets is a Master of Theological Studies candidate at Harvard Divinity School. He is the author of The Hour Wasp (April Gloaming Publishing, 2017) and recipient of the 2016 Poetry Society of New Hampshire Poetry Prize. His poems have appeared in numerous journals and magazines, including The Graduate Journal of Harvard Divinity School, and he has worked as a mentor in AWP’s Writer to Writer mentorship program. His work has been supported by Harvard University, PEN America, and Poets & Writers, Inc.