Jonathan Duckworth

Moonlight Sonata

She asks me if I ever shut up. I’ve been rambling the last five minutes
about how Marlowe’s Faust wanted to know, while Goethe’s wanted
to feel. We’re on the grass. In our underwear. No blanket between us
and dew-slicked worms. Her fingers alighted on the clavichord keys
of my ribs. Far from any street lamps that muffle the stars and smear
the world with their sickly ochre. Nothing between us and the
moonlight.

I can be quiet, I tell her.

Like when?

Like when I’m listening for the sound the moon makes.

Oh really? Can you hear it now?

Of course not. Too many little mothlings in the trees, rustling free
from their cocoons to unlid the eyes on their new wings.

For a while we turn our ears moonward, and open them as wide as
we can. I don’t say a word. I practice subtracting myself from the
moment.

When she falls asleep, I wish I could stop my heartbeat, the better to
listen for an ocean awash in the coral conch of her ear—the churning
brine, the gently lapping foam of her dreams.

After a Drowning

Crane flies skim the creek,
their ripples unnoticed—
today nothing hunts them.
Trout teem in the shadow
of the covered bridge—
after so many nibbles
even a giant disappears.

Author Portrait

Jonathan Louis Duckworth is an MFA student at Florida International University and a reader for Gulf Stream Magazine. His fiction, poetry, and nonfiction appears in or is forthcoming in New Ohio Review, Fourteen Hills, Literary Orphans, Cha, Off the Coast, Superstition Review, and elsewhere.

View the website of Jonathan Duckworth