James Owens

The Grammar of Loss


Gets tangled in double negatives.
to gather warm eggs for breakfast.


Scampers out to the thinnest branches
and flies from
tree to tree. Burrows
past taproots
to the sweetest, mineral-savored water.


Grows demented in the slow evenings
when shadows open like wounds.


Whispers urgently at the train station
to the woman in the gray raincoat,
who turns and walks back
into the spring-scented twilight,
down an alley empty except for the sound of footsteps,
past the aching roses,
and to her room,
where she will remember the way these streetlights
burned circles in the fog.


James Owens’s most recent collection of poems is Mortalia (FutureCycle Press, 2015). His poems, stories, and translations appear widely in literary journals, including publications in The Fourth River, Kestrel, Tule Review, Poetry Ireland Review, and Southword. He earned an MFA at the University of Alabama and lives in Indiana and northern Ontario.