Breaking Point

Pa, I see you in your shed–
unaware of dusk settling
over your garden, painting
your pink crabapple blossoms
grey. I see you bend, to squint
at some small imperfection
marring the wooden soldier
you’ve spent the whole day carving,
hands slow-dancing to a tune
no-one else can hear. Later
Ma will shake her head, dismiss
your need for perfect contours
and seamless joins as foolish,
not understanding a man,
a soldier or a husband
is only ever as strong
as his weakest part.

Ryan Stone

F = Gm1m2 / r2

It’s gravity, baby

and that’s how it started —
three whispered words
under the bleachers,
two bodies
thrown into orbit.

Almost as quickly,
those starburst nights
of lying thisclose
went supernova.

There’s a point
during free-fall,
a pause
to consider
whether to brace
or just to surrender –

for a heartbeat or two
it feels like you’re floating,
then the ground rushes up
to show you how endings
can sound like beginnings

but that’s
just gravity,
baby.

Ryan Stone

The Weight

One drunken night, he lay on the coach road
and she lay beside him. He pictured a truck
descending–wobbling around corners,
gaining momentum. They spoke about crushes,

first kisses. He told her of an older woman
who’d stolen a thing he couldn’t replace.
He tried to describe the weight of lost things.
She listened until he stopped,
until I stopped

hiding behind he. I felt small,
watching the cosmos churn
while I lay on the coach road
one summer night,
speaking of big things
and nothing.

Ryan Stone

first published at Algebra of Owls, November 2016

Republished for dVerse poetics – Poems That Could Save Your Life – this friendship saved mine.

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Unburied Hatchet

Until I saw those wasted hands,
brittle as chalk, I hadn’t thought
how fast the years make ghosts.

I heard them once called brawler’s paws.
For me, they were always more:
cobras, poised to strike.

But his brawling days are gone now;
I could kill him with a pillow,
if I cared enough to try.

Thin sheets press tightly to a bed
more empty than full, his body broken
like the promises of childhood.

Haunted eyes betray last thoughts
of a dim path, spiralling down.
He hopes to make amends.

“Forgiven?” he croaks,
barely there, as always,
and I’m wishing that I wasn’t.

With the last rays of day as witness,
I turn my back with purpose
and hear the silence roar.

In a late-night bar I catch my reflection
swimming in a glass of bourbon;
but I’m staring at a ghost.

Ryan Stone

Click here for audio

First published in Writers’ Forum Magazine issue 163, April 2015 – first place

Republished for open link night at dVerse.

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The first time I saw her naked

I blushed, despite imagining her often
unclothed — long caramel legs
arabesque honed, perhaps a soft tuft
to cover their tryst. I’d dreamt
creamy breasts with rose petal tips
that would stiffen and rise
in the moonlight.
The first time I saw her naked,
I stood with her mother —
the woman who bore her,
and the boy who adored her,
alone with death in the room.

Ryan Stone

To the Lovely Green Beetles Who Carried My Notes into the Afternoon

I came across this wonderful poem on Robert’s site last night and haven’t been able to stop it playing over and over in my head. A beautiful poem from an incredibly talented writer. Robert’s blog is a treasure trove. Please leave any comments for him directly. Enjoy!

O at the Edges

To the Lovely Green Beetles Who Carried My Notes into the Afternoon

Such beauty should not be bound,
thus I tied loose knots,

knowing you would slip free
and shed my words

as they were meant,
across browned lawns,

just over the cedar fence
or at the curb’s edge,

never to be assembled,
and better for it.

* * *

This appeared in riverSedgeVolume 29, Issue 1, released in October 2016. I first encounteredriverSedgein 1983, and vowed that one day my poetry would be published in this journal. It took a while…

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Ethereal Planes

Above fields, bright paper planes fly
While dark the shadows dance below.
Like dreams released come morning’s rise
Above fields, bright paper planes fly.
In silence waits the blackened sky,
The final pitch, night’s all star throw.
Above fields bright, paper planes fly,
While dark the shadows dance below.

Ryan Stone

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