Two Poems By Max Stone


To think I was the only one who was lost,
In a world where the only thing we share is water.
I had none to run my fingers through, a cause to panic.
Clouds hid me from the scrutiny of the sun, nothing was clear,
I was following an obscured figure, some sort of prophet,
My frantic eyes darting, arms fighting towards the thicket.

There was someone there with me, tangled in the thicket.
I did the opposite of what I was supposed to do, ran away, got lost.
The scribbles in my notebook were a sign, I was my own prophet.
The moon was pulling me, even in the day, down to the water,
Through plants and trees bleeding with moisture, the path was clear,
Morning cold persisted, the day still new, too soon to panic.

It was on my heels—the red tide—the panic.	
I was caught but somehow free, looking up from the thicket,
The sky above opened, one blue circle—clear.
The warmth shot down to embrace me, it felt good to be lost.
Cool tears sliding down my face, I myself was water.
Could I really have been sent down, could I really be a prophet?

Recalling the pages of history, was there ever any prophet?
Or were they merely soothing stories to assuage the panic?
I thought about my feet—how light—could I be the next to walk on water?
They were bare and bleeding in the thicket,
Kneading the dirt with my toes, I never felt so found and so lost.
The sky and the soil and the branches and me. My purpose was clear.

Running through backyards, they watched me behind walls that were clear,
Me with wild eyes and bleeding arms, they saw a runaway, not a prophet.
How could I explain to them that I was lost, but not lost?
They reached for their phones, I know that they felt panic.
Blue and red lights would soon be my trap, a different kind of thicket.
How could I explain to them that all I wanted was to touch the water?

They grabbed me by the wrists, told me it was dirty—the water,
Shined flashlights in my eyes to see if they were clear.
They found the scratches on my arms from the thicket.
I told them I was a genius, I was the new Jesus, I was a prophet.
They tucked me in the vehicle, I imagined white walls, began to panic.
All I could say was, I was lost but I wanted to be lost.

The thicket hurt me before it led me to the water,
We all agree I was lost, that much is blue sky clear,
But I was my own prophet, and that made them panic.

Such a tragedy not to notice
A pebble in the silty bed of the creek, smoothed by centuries of water.
Troubled by the past and fearing the worst.

A fresh loaf of bread with holy pockets of warmth 
Sits on the window sill, gathering the day’s last sun,
Such a tragedy not to notice.

Forgotten is the summer thirst that could only be quenched
By a gulp of water from the green garden hose.
Troubled by the past and fearing the worst.

The blue plaid sheets whip dry in hot wind
On the clothesline like landlocked sails.
Such a tragedy not to notice.

The music made by the disquieted leaves of the peach tree 
And the rain tapping on the tin roof goes unlistened to.
Troubled by the past and fearing the worst.

Oh, how many times did I fail to witness
The moment the day waterfalled into night—
Such a tragedy not to notice.
Troubled by the past and fearing the worst.

Max Stone is a first-year poetry MFA candidate at the University of Nevada, Reno.

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