Jason Gray

Ark & Aria


The seeds docked with a ship
And now a forest floats in the harbor.
This is the outpost in wait
For us to disappear. 

The ghosts of thylacines
Come out at night to taste
A little humidity
In the air of the bay. 

Across the water, a lady
Descends a musical scale
—it is over—
Like bringing down a veil.

A shroud drapes the gate
Of the blooming garden
From which we are now extinct.



Letter from the Frozen City


The air is so sharp
every stone slab and iron rail will crack, our eardrums, unmuffed, will pop. Even our lake has sealed itself: a hibernation of water, deep beneath the ice the slowing cycle of oxygen and light.

Yes, there have been lighthearted moments, ice sculptures carved by master craftsmen under the direction of children, but those works of art, instead of reveling in temporality, have become our gods.

Perhaps we should have seen this coming, strange floods that had never before vexed our curbs, hyperactivity in the UV range, the coyote summer, but with fewer strays around after, why look a gift horse, etc. 

I would have imagined a solid roof of gray, but the air is clear, and breathtaking. The ground’s too solid to bury anyone, and so we’ve taken to cremation, and made parties of gathering around bonfires of bodies.

Here is a slow Pompeii.
We huddle under neon signs, near the capitol dome, now a minor glow among the other minor glows.



Jason Gray is the author of Photographing Eden, winner of the Hollis Summers Prize, and two chapbooks, How to Paint the Savior Dead and Adam & Eve Go to the Zoo. His poems have been featured in PoetryThe Kenyon ReviewAmerican Poetry ReviewImage, and elsewhere. http://jason-gray.net