Two Poems by Joshua Barnes

Formation

In Joshua Tree the sun sets
Quiet behind sandstone boulders.
You are in a caldera formed by
Prehistoric volcanic violence
And the slow
Passage of time.
Which is paradoxical since
Time has seemed to stop,
The sun holding position
At the rim of the tallest rock,
Casting long shadows
All along the basin.
Look at you,
Casting a shadow as the
Dew settles on the boulders
Of your sunburned shoulders,
Striations etched in flesh granite.
Climbable.
Conquerable.
Dangerous to fall from.
Those heights.

To a 6-Year Old Josh

There will be bodies with scars,
Bigger, but less noticeable
Than yours.
There will be keloids burning red,
Contractures yellow and orange.
You won’t see them
Because of how closely they’re clutched,
Their owners
Squeezing them inside.
There will be bodies who envy your scar,
Who stare at it in wonder,
Because visible scars tell the stories
The invisible ones are afraid to speak.
Joshua Barnes

Joshua Barnes was raised in Boyne City, Michigan, and is now a Philadelphia transplant. His poetry has previously appeared in Kairos Literary Magazine. When not writing or working, he can be found reading comic books, poetry, or horror fiction, perfecting his handstands, or binge-watching Drag Race.

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