Jonathan Blake

In Paradise There Are No Policies for Immigration
In Old Age

In Paradise There Are No Policies for Immigration

All day, yesterday, a black
Storm lingered, rain fell like walls,
Filled the bowl of this valley
In the kingdom

Now, painted turtles climb
The fallen trees into light

Bass glint below the clear surface

Wild iris waver in the warm breeze
And the wet wood of the deck
Gleams in early sun

It is late June in the Kingdom: 2018

Men in a grove of trees 
Hammer and exult, their pounding
Echoes in the hills as they imagine
The shape of their dream.

A sunlit cloud of sheep
Drifts slowly in the pasture
Above the wide mouth of the pond.

Children laugh in the cool waters
Of the far shore as if no
Harm will come to them.

In the shadows of the cabins
Mothers stand close to their counters
Sharpening the knives.


Each of them knows
Death is a certainty

The man just 90
Standing naked and still
Surprised by joy in the early
Ashen light of April,
Listening to a fine spring rain

The same man standing
Weeks later, shirtless in the antiseptic
Glare of his doctor’s office
Imagining the threads of stars
In a bold night sky after
His doctor said, “a melanoma 
Has spread like a galaxy
Throughout your body, even
To places, I imagine, we cannot see.”

Each of them knows.

In Old Age

Long after midnight
I begin the sweet drifting
In the night-quiet cabin
Above the sound of water;
Listen to the bullfrogs’ 
Urgency in the reeds;
Slip slowly like an untethered
Boat into dream.

I wake startled once more
Under lamplight, my book half closed
Upon my chest, believing
I hear the soft voices, the quiet
Footsteps of my mother, my 
Father finding their way 
Again in the dark
And empty rooms.

JONATHAN BLAKE has been following the gospel of his heart for his entire life. Writer, educator, arts organizer, he makes his home in central Massachusetts.