from Dinner Table (Conversations at the)




because we say the table is a field

sugar cubes in spoons turn into


divots           we speak this potpourri

into forests held in wicker


centerpieces            their brims the lips

of the clearing           


lips that suggest forests being eaten           


the fragrance of each basketed gasp

a consolation


from the gentle obliterations


our own mouths birth in casting one

another into sedges where


we become figures disfigured           

dogs and orphans


who make their homes

among a pinecone's many dark pavilions



we found a garden

in the forest as we followed


bends in roads and lips            the distance

linking cusp to cup           


we left no crumbs


but found this dark pariah            a garden

begotten            fronds fixated on


fricatives pillowy


as cotton            but cotton does not bud

in gardens


we bickered to the bread


or to the garden or the cotton or the cup

or to whatever


else had sung itself where it did not belong


James Henry Knippen lives in Martindale, Texas, where he serves as the poetry editor for Front Porch Journal. His poems have previously appeared in DIAGRAM and Softblow. Additional selections from Dinner Table (Conversations at the) are forthcoming in burntdistrict.