Poem July 2023
The creek is old and its banks are steep.
Its flow never stops its work of remaking.
Clay like this wants to keep its form
though scoured by the storm-carried silt,
pitted as by earthbound lightning strikes.
Water is turned by jutting granite,
milky quartz, even soft sandstone,
all of it red with rust going green
as first the ferns unroll their fronds
and vines tease the air with soft thorns
the way childhood returns in old age.
A friend told me how his mother, who
is now constantly looking for her home,
who can’t recognize him or his sister,
was happy to play ball with his toddler,
with his new puppy. She tossed the ball
against the brick patio wall with a spin.
The dog and child ran with confused joy.
Sometimes they fell over each other.
His mother always caught the ball.
She was the only one who seemed to know
exactly where the ball would bounce.
— Paul Jones
Paul Jones is a professor emeritus at The University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. His latest collection of poetry is called Something Wonderful.