Jonah is dead. He said he has no teeth, no stomach, no heart; that he feels like there is a black mountain stretched from here to New Scotland that he cannot climb over and at the end of it hangs a nice girl someone thought was a witch. We question this carefully. When we present him with a mirror and tap his teeth he is not convinced. He is dead. He tells us we are still living but not actually talking to him, fiddles are being played underwater, he feels them, his veins are the strings. He still eats but says it is to fill the empty well with emptiness. And the part he does after you fill yourself full is the devil’s way of finding you, hence all the flies. And we are all thankful for that because burying his brown fluids is about the only personal care he gives. With all the dead to take care of he thinks he has been forgotten, left behind by the spirits. That is every soldier’s fear, being forgotten, buried in an unmarked grave. That is why the men write letters home, sew their names into their uniforms. Sam carries a plank of wood he burned his name into with a hot bayonet, he carries it in hopes it will be used to mark his grave. But Jonah is dead. He does not smile, does not laugh. He stares through you like you are dead and you feel how true it is, like you went for a swim and the land left, then the water left with your body under it and you are only a head, then that leaves too.
About Robert Evory
Robert Evory is a Ph.D. candidate in Creative Writing at Western Michigan University where he is the Poetry Editor for Third Coast; he is also the Managing Editor and co-founder of The Poet’s Billow. In July of 2015 he was artist-in-residence at Gettysburg National Military Park. He earned an MFA from Syracuse University. His poetry is featured or is forthcoming in: Spillway, Spoon River Review, The Baltimore Review, Natural Bridge, The Fat City Review, Nashville Review, Wisconsin Review, Ghost Town, The Madison Review, Arroyo, Water~Stone Review, and elsewhere.