Two Poems by Jeff Burt

North Facing

Sometimes when I look at the low winter light
on the ridge of the mountains
it seems both could splinter,
light split into shining tines
like a well-used rake,
mountains riven
into multitudes of valleys
with their own dividing creeks
like wood driven by an axe down the grain,
the way trees of men shattered by war
become kindling by the wayside
of human traffic, broken, spokes
on a discarded wheel


At the beach persistent boys
like whips snap
each time they move,
tick like windy branches
annoyed by night,
then stand stagnant,
not accumulating algae
as much as becoming it,
bright and rank,
teeth exposed by lips
opened by jaws
set forward
like bulldozer maws
ready to rip
the soft tissues of earth,
t-shirts inked, bannered,
camouflaged, their links of mail,
as if a logo or statement
could keep the bite of the dog
from their thin underbellies.
Once, I wore them too.


Jeff Burt lives in California with his wife amid the redwoods and two-lane roads wide enough for one car. He works in mental health. He has work in The Watershed Review, The Nervous Breakdown, Spry, Atticus Review, and The Monarch Review. He was the featured 2015 summer issue poet of Clerestory, and won the 2017 Cold Mountain Review Narrative Poetry Prize.

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