Poem by Jacob McArthur Mooney

Eyewear is very glad to welcome Jacob McArthur Mooney (pictured) to its storied pages.

Mooney is a 24-year-old Canadian with something of a meteorically-rising poetry career on his hands - something I'm quite glad of, having been publishing him these last few years, when my editorial eye came across some poems of his.

Mooney, having recently split his time into quadrants (Toronto, Newfoundland, Pennsylvania, Halifax), now lives in a small house with a pear tree in the backyard (as I am informed in his bio note; whether, like Augustine, he is tempted by the pears, he does not say). He was shortlisted for the 2007 CBC Literary Award in Poetry. His first book of poems is due out in March of 2008 from major Canadian press McClelland and Stewart, and is titled The New Layman's Almanac.

He is the poetry editor at ThievesJargon.com.

A Guide to Alternate Histories

Take a step to the left. Take another. There
was this photograph I shrugged off once
while moving, me and the hard local girl who
taught me the words to Basket Case, bent
from the roots into each other like the letter A.
Each time I saw her she’d ask me my birthday,
sometimes even wrote it down. I don’t know, maybe
she wanted to be the first person to ever record
everybody’s. Her best friend shot the picture,

Take a step to the left. Take another. There,
I got it. They both died in a car wreck, hit a ten seat
van in their rental, pieces of vacation thrown around
an acre of New Brunswick like late-night unloading
beside a tight-made bed in the next motel down the list.
Thanks for coming. I asked her what she wanted once
we graduated, she said first whatever, then college. I said
first college, then whatever and no I can’t go with you.
She said whatever. (S)he said my life’s a bore.

They found her in a cornfield, fingers clawed into
the soil, as if she spent her last seconds praying for
return. Her name was Martha but I often misspeak and
call her Martyr. Sometimes I give myself the creeps.
Sometimes my mind plays tricks on me. The farmer
went and sold his land, moved in with his brother in
Moncton. You’ll pass the place if you’re driving to
Quebec, get out at the first exit you don’t recognize, walk
into the parking lot. Take a step to the left. Take another,


poem by Jacob Arthur Mooney

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