Volume 14 • Number 2 • Fall-Winter 2022-2023

John L. Stanizzi

Jason and Jonathan

-after The Creation of Adam
-ceiling of the Sistine Chapel, Vatican City State-1508-1512
-circa 1976

Ground fog
touches the spaces
between the corn
and the trees
The sun has lowered itself quickly
sowing the river with sparks.

I lie on the kids’ bed
next to the window
the weight of summer on my chest.

Leaves wither in the hot black
and my sons sleep on the floor
sprawled in front of the fan
like God and Adam.

Jason is naked and five-years-old.
Jonathan is three,
and has on a baseball jersey.
They’re soaked with sweat.
The heat has ravaged their sleep.

Years later I will learn that
Jason was supported by wingless angels;
he is nearly touching Jonathan’s
index finger.
They are splayed across the floor on
dirty bedsheets and case-less pillows.
all bony legs and arms,
the fan weakly attempting
to keep the heat
from crushing them.

For my purposes,
let the hum of the fan
be the perpetual
B-flat of the universe
as the boys slumber
in the leaden air,
all the coolness having been
drawn from the sheets and pillows
hours ago.

The scene draws a few tears
from my eyes; my boys,
all innocence and trust.
With a minuscule tug
on my imagination,
they become God and Adam,
Jason reaching
for Jonathan’s
three-year-old index finger,
in this illusory marvel.
Here they are about to touch,
yet not touching…
the journey is dangerous, magnificent.

Like the Creator’s,
Jason’s index is a whisper away from
Jonathan’s, where, when they touch,
Jason’s finger will spark on Jonathan’s,
the imperishability of brotherhood.

Two small children
asleep on the floor
inclined toward one another.
The drab curtains waft into the room,
a signal the night might be cooling off?

They will fight, they will defend each other,
they will laugh and cry and grow into men
without end, in this life and onto the next
touched by the finger of the paternal right hand.

Epoch Companion

The only thing more exhausting
than being depressed
is pretending that you’re not.


does it depart when you depart-
after all, it takes up very little space
and never says a word
not even when you do

there is no denying
that it will contort your face
on certain
splintered occasions

which raises a query –
is it more cumbersome
during the daylight hours
or at night when it’s
so much larger
and yet harder to see–
a tough question

beneath the luxury of the summer sun
it’s all charade
the gregarious way you greet people
the smile on your face
even when passing strangers
all the while agonizing
over keeping its tyrannical conformation
from muddling your brain

your labor at keeping your emotions
padlocked in a heavy box
and placed on a
swaybacked shelf in your heart
a box whose rickety lock
you must check at least
once a minute
until sleep comes
and erases you both
for a time

John L. Stanizzi, Author - Ecstasy Among Ghosts, Sleepwalking, Dance Against the Wall, After the Bell, Hallelujah Time!, High Tide – Ebb Tide, Four Bits, Chants, Sundowning, POND, The Tree That Lights the Way Home. John’s poems can be found in Prairie Schooner, Cortland Review, American Life in Poetry, Tar River, Potomac Review, Poetlore, and many others. John’s nonfiction has been in Literature and Belief, Stone Coast Review, Potato Soup, and many others. Former New England Poet of the Year, he was awarded an Artist Fellowship in Creative Non-Fiction, 2021 from the Connecticut Office of the Arts.