Star and Pomegranate

by J. S. Absher

Do you see the man in the painting—
the one in the procession 
who alone has seen it 
shining directly overhead? 
Hands raised, fingers spread, 
half in surprise, half in worship, 
he’d like to stop and ponder

but is jostled by the crowd, 
all of them pushing 
downhill towards what they 
are able to imagine—a father, 
a mother, an infant on 
her lap—and what they cannot:
on the child’s thigh, the red-fleshed 
fruit, half-peeled and bloody.

J. S. Absher is a poet and independent scholar. His first full-length book of poetry, Mouth Work (St. Andrews University Press) won the 2015 Lena Shull Competition of the North Carolina Poetry Society. His second full-length collection, Skating Rough Ground, is scheduled to appear next year. Chapbooks are Night Weather (Cynosura, 2010) and The Burial of Anyce Shepherd (Main Street Rag, 2006). Absher is also preparing three books focusing on North Carolina and Southern US history, two of which (Love Letters of a Mississippi Lawyer and My Own Life, or A Deserted Wife) were published this year. He lives in Raleigh, NC, with his wife, Patti. Website: www.js-absher-poetry.com 

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