The Dream of the Green Cave

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Spare, vivid and visceral, “The Dream of the Green Cave,” by Illinois poet Shannon Tate Jonas, is a nighttime journey of striking contrasts.

Blood falls through his body
like a pocketful of keys tossed
into the middle of the sea.

Having dreamt last night of entering
the green cave to hurl his grandfather’s
psalms & keys into the cave’s deepest

wells, the sound of the keys, as he
shook them in the cave’s face,
served to vivify the cave’s holiness.

Blood falls through his body
like a stream of tiny black flies
that pour from the dead tree

with a lightning strike scar that runs
the trunk’s length. He thinks of
lightning which requires its converse
to be fully seen, requires an absence of light.

Shannon Tate Jonas won the Brick Road Poetry Press Prize with his first book Battle Sleep, published January 2016. He has poems published and forthcoming in various journals, including Barrow Street, Cider Press Review, Cutbank, Diagram, Hotel Amerika, The Iowa Review, Mississippi Review, San Diego Poetry Annual, Tammy, Third Coast, Typo, and has had his work translated and published in the Dutch journals De Honingzaag, and Kluger Hans. He holds graduate degrees from the University of Arkansas and Western Michigan University. He lives and teaches in Buffalo, New York.

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