Honorable Mention: “Plain seeing” by M Thomas

Plain seeing

Flash, and the flatlander eye
swoons with star glint and eardrum roaring
crack, a copper spark in sight sounding

It was everest over town’s end
the thunderhead on high
rising to ordovician climes

Nearly alleghenies, still half atlas
with shoulders lowered since
the dislocating swell in pangaea’s heart

Asked the eye to wander
whether the mind climbs the face and airy col
like tourists cling to fixed ropes in charcoal

In carbon crumbles traced
on onion skeins the protracted vision
of a peak’s prominent addition

A map in well-latined english
to name the thunderous tear in time
graphed with tacks and tines

On a four kay flash
imprint that unshuttered lens
on blinking eye impinged

The unsheltered sky known
in highland and low, for
none than the lowlander looks up more

The names of plants and places
given of the displaced and spoken
with the allium bite of garlic clove,

The measured peaks and swollen
hollows dammed in every county
seat and capital topography

It was eardrum roar and star glint
flash, a desirous mountain side
crack, a swooning loss of size

To see this place in visions
to read the names beneath
in stones and tsalagi

To feel I was born with sight
spoken from a tongue sprung
among garlic mustard and wild onion

It was mountains over mishigami
the insistent retinal buckling
of person and place uncoupling

Flash, and star glint, eardrum roar
rock swooning flatlander eyes
crack, a delirious prophetic site


M Thomas is a writer, teacher, researcher, and translator at the University of Tennessee in Knoxville. His published literary works include translations from a French volume of poetry by Maria Zaki and Jacques Hermann, Dialogue in Aphorisms (Paris: L’Harmattan 2020), and short stories by Driss Ksikes in TriQuarterly. “Plain seeing” is his first published original poem.


** Featured image of Wilkes County, North Carolina by Elijah Mears on Unsplash

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