J. R. Solonche

My Chair

I have placed my chair between

the woods and the feeder, in 

the middle of the flight path 

of the birds. I want the chickadees 

and titmice, the cardinals and

nuthatches to fly above me, to fly 

to my right and to my left, to whiz 

within inches of my head. I want 

to hear the beating of their wings as

they speed by. I want to close my

eyes. I want to feel the sun warm 

on my face and on my eyes. I want

to feel the sun warm on their wings 

and on the sound of their wings and

on the soft strength of the breathing

of their wings. I want to imagine 

what the next world, the world that

I know does not exist, must sound like.


Circle Square

The town square in

my town is called Circle

Square. There’s a church.

There’s a library. There

are two bars. I went

into the library to find

out  how it got its name.

They told me it was

named by the town’s

founder who was a math

teacher with a sense

of  humor. I went into

the church and asked

the pastor how it got

its name. He said that

the town’s first pastor 

named it for the greater 

glory of God for whom 

nothing is impossible. 

I went into the first bar. 

They said it was named

for the town’s first drunk

who stumbled in circles

around the square until

he fell flat on his face.

I went into the second

bar. They told me the same

story. Makes sense to me.

Professor emeritus of English at SUNY Orange, J.R. Solonche has published poetry in more than 400 magazines, journals, and anthologies since the early ‘70s. He is the author of more than 20 collections of poetry, including Invisible, which was nominated for the Pulitzer Prize by Five Oaks Press, and, most recently, Selected Poems 2002-2021, nominated for the National Book Award by Serving House Books. He is coauthor, with his wife, Joan I. Siegel, of Peach Girl: Poems for a Chinese Daughter (Grayson Books). He lives in the Hudson Valley.