Nathan Spoon

A History of Leaves

(listen to the poem, read by Sarah Korcz)

A river of cringe is flowing through our collective sky.
It is like when your heart is hanging over
some tree line, large and ghostly as
an autumn moon before sundown.

Meanwhile we are doing
the same things once done by people
in an earlier present, only
for different reasons, reasons more our own.

There are always those of us in possession of
the skillset brief rain requires. The thing known as a river
is what it is, which is why we expect ourselves
to continue generalizing it to make it what it is. Like

a picturesque expanse, like a bouquet of fallen rain, like
the penury of mountains, like the allure of a skyscraper with its panoply of windows
flashing, like a mother and grandmother caring for a smiling
infant, we are waiting for tomorrow to give us what today withholds.

Back to Top of Page | Back to Poetry | Back to Volume 14, Issue 1


(listen to the poem, read by Diane R. Wiener)

Upon further questioning we decided to wait until
the entire entity unfolded. Every molecule
of it I mean. Some of us maintained good functionality.
Still, the older fliers among us
were prone to wander off while

the rest of us were sleeping.
Nights in strange lands are punctuated by quantities
of dreamers and rain is gathering
force above a teacup. Those of us who are
halfway are falling asleep standing or

sitting but are awake whenever we are
lying down. Through caverns of
night we bow in reverence to strengths inside
ourselves, strengths exceeding the reach
of our abilities. Like a new bond emerging from edges

of icy archipelagos, driving
mechanical orders of imagination, like the bitter dust
of souls, like a heart covered by a fist
of sand, we are mingling the crown with
the carnivorous roots of flowers, as danger widens

its lenses. Our destiny is no longer manifest
as we once believed. We are
releasing another kind of life, a life measured against
the size of what we do not know
and cannot imagine from our cocoon

of ferns and fire. When we reenter
using recalculations, smoke
surrounds us along the wired shores
of forgiveness. Our gentleness
is a current that no single vessel delivers.

Back to Top of Page | Back to Poetry | Back to Volume 14, Issue 1

Monologue on the Structures of a Bubble

(listen to the poem, read by Diane R. Wiener)

What you are doing has a mysterious feel to it.
It reminds me of that waxy paper mannerly people
find around bars of Ivory Soap banded together
at the bottoms of cabinets. Someday I may be cowed
by the reach of your performative contradiction,

and if I am not you can be certain somebody else
will be. There are so many ways a spark from a fire
in a weathered chimenea never accomplishes what it
sets out to do. Look up at the sky and you will be
unraveled by the ocular dynamics of its continents.

Trees sway. The retracting sunlight drenches the yard
and side of our house. For every motion there is
an imaginary countermotion among the drowsing
branches dotted with yellow, brown, orange, red
and burgundy leaves. There is fire in the evergreens.

There is water in everybody dreaming of fire. We
refine what ends we are destined to achieve. We
fill our coffee mugs with earthly oceans and we
traverse them. Whisked away to tropical paradises
our voices of real malevolence, by speaking, fade.

Into rooms other histories move while contemplating
the variegated tensions comprising a given
spherical surface. We see their ecologies swirling
and the manner of our seeing is encompassing. Into
rooms filled with the brittle enamel of patterns we,

softly, go. Once on the way home from work you
stopped the car and I got out to help a turtle
the rest of the way across the road. I was wearing
new shoes. Clutching the turtle firmly I descended
the bank to the creek and imagined resolving

the momentum I had gained by landing carefully on
a flat portion of the bank. Only that portion was
a miracle of soft mud. So, I sank. So, I fell forward
letting the turtle go as I reached out with both hands
to catch myself. The turtle went flying sideways

and landed like a discus: one third in the mud
and two thirds in the air of our shared habitat. I fell
feet to knees to palms while cursing the muddy
bank for soiling my pants and for swallowing my
shoes. I drew myself up, returning to my human

posture. This was not an event, as nobody was there
to witness what occurred. Even now my telling this
is to no purpose. It is a filling of space. It is a returning.
It is a bubble rising through the boundaries of soft mud.
It is an existence framed by the eye of a monumental

seeing. Suddenly memory opens like a scroll of papyrus,
unrolling and revealing beautiful prospects, so that
I hold my hand up again, letting the light of our star
bathe it. Tomorrow I will speak on behalf of myself.

Tomorrow I will float. The idea of a turtle will be alive.

Back to Top of Page | Back to Poetry | Back to Volume 14, Issue 1

Excess in Real Life

(listen to the poem, read by Diane R. Wiener)

The potential for impact is greater than
the likelihood of success. That is how a monster
usually moves forward     through a landscape
even as the system     glitches. At least
it is true of monsters we invent while those
descending on us     uninvited are other
kinds of animals     , animals we have yet to fathom.

There is so much dissemination in the wind.
In a move similarly transparent, dew sweeps across
the landscape too. I keep waiting for you and     in turn
you     keep waiting for me. I wish the distance
between us were not     today a real distance. Once
head in hand     I fell asleep     and with the weight of that dreaming orb
I hyperextended said hand. Please sweep me under at the next point.

Back to Top of Page | Back to Poetry | Back to Volume 14, Issue 1

Second Time is a Charm

(listen to the poem, read by Diane R. Wiener)

The way the grass is growing today is rude.
This is probably no surprise considering
the length of our albatross longings, as
we run into the new plastic of complexity
and enjoy the strangeness of a net effect.

Anyway, how a starfish decides which way
to move is a headless, if not a mindless,
venture, one that gives a smoother surface
to symbiotic relationships between the organs
of organisms and their rudderless drivers.

Those mornings when the sky is orange,
a glow drifts through air being stippled
by birdsong. It is easy to hope unpleasantness
will disappear. Probably none of us likes it
and there is a smell to how it makes us feel

that is almost as cloying as the rough fabric
a pair of pants may be cut from. Later, if night
reembraces day, we will have more than we
imagined possible to discuss. Night is richer
than morning. It is a miracle converging.

Back to Top of Page | Back to Poetry | Back to Volume 14, Issue 1

About the Author

Nathan Spoon is an autistic poet with low academic fluency whose poems appear in Poetry, American Poetry Review, Mantis, Harvard Divinity Bulletin, The Scores, Oxford Poetry, South Carolina Review, and elsewhere. His debut collection, Doomsday Bunker, was published in 2017. He is co-editor of Queerly.