Your Words Still in This Place

“We are not long on this earth, we do many evil deeds and say many evil words. And therefore let us all
seize the favorable moment of our being together in order to say a good word to each other as well. And so
 I do; while I am in this place, I make the best of my moment.”
                  — Dostoevsky, “Defense Attorney’s Speech” (Trans. by Pevear and Volokhonsky)

Your Words Still in This Place

soon after we parted
but then against the General’s command
we drove the boy out beyond the salt flats
to the northern edge of the mountains
where he said for a thousand years
no one would wake him

you spoke you remembered
how he could not grow a mustache
not like the revolutionaries and caudillos
he could not clear his lungs
in the desert air
we stoned him for taunting the Chihuahua
stolen from Arango himself
but he loved his family name and honor
more than all men

there under the reef rock
we were better than we are

I have thought of that moment these long years
have you?
the memory saves me from mischief

now I imagine the scurry
of the spotted whiptail lizard
is your voice rattling in the scree

J. R. Forman’s work has appeared or is forthcoming in Apricity MagazineBorderlands: Texas Poetry ReviewThe Ekphrastic ReviewGlint Literary JournalLiterature of the AmericasContemporary Studies in ModernismMatter: A Journal of Political Poetry and CommentaryRamifyStreetlight MagazineStirring: A Literary CollectionMake It New, and anthologies by Clemson University Press. He has been a finalist for the Julia Darling Memorial Poetry Prize and holds a BA from St. John’s College, Santa Fe, and PhDs from the University of Dallas and the University of Salamanca. He is a lecturer in Literature and Philosophy at Tarleton State University in Stephenville, Texas. 

[image: Aspidoscelis exsanguis | Joel Sartore]

One thought on “Your Words Still in This Place

  1. I rejoice in the insights, intellect, and empathy of this young poet! Few are as capable of poetic erudition as he! Yet, his poetry is understandable and enjoyable for all! The images he creates enable a heartfelt experience that sinks into the soul.


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