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Richard Jones

Richard Jones is the author of fifteen collections of poetry, most recently Stranger On Earth (Copper Canyon Press, 2018).


Stranger on Earth (Copper Canyon Press, 2018)
The King of Hearts (Adastra Press, 2015)
The Correct Spelling & Exact Meaning (Copper Canyon Press, 2010)
Apropos of Nothing (Copper Canyon Press, 2006)
The Blessing: New & Selected Poems (Copper Canyon Press, 2000)
The Stone It Lives On (Adastra Press, 2000)
48 Questions (Bombshelter Press, 1998)
The Abandoned Garden (Tunheim Santrizos, 1997)
A Perfect Time (Copper Canyon Press, 1994)
At Last We Enter Paradise (Copper Canyon Press, 1991)
Sonnets (Adastra Press, 1990)
Country of Air (Copper Canyon Press, 1986)
Walk On (Alderman Press, 1986)
Innocent Things (Adastra Press, 1985)
Windows and Walls (Adastra Press, 1982)

By This Poet


Cherries in the Snow

My mother never appeared in public
without lipstick. If we were going out,
I’d have to wait by the door until
she painted her lips and turned
from the hallway mirror,
put on her gloves and picked up her purse,
opening the purse to see
if she’d remembered tissues.

After lunch in a restaurant
she might ask,
“Do I need lipstick?”
If I said yes,
she would discretely turn
and refresh her faded lips.
Opening the black and gold canister,
she’d peer in a round compact
as if she were looking into another world.
Then she’d touch her lips to a tissue.

Whenever I went searching
in her coat pocket or purse
for coins or candy
I’d find, crumpled, those small white tissues
covered with bloodred kisses.
I’d slip them into my pocket,
along with the stones and feathers
I thought, back then, I’d keep.


It's so late I could cut my lights
and drive the next fifty miles
of empty interstate
by starlight,
flying along in a dream,
countryside alive with shapes and shadows,
but exit ramps lined
with eighteen wheelers
and truckers sleeping in their cabs
make me consider pulling into a rest stop
and closing my eyes.  I've done it before,
parking next to a family sleeping in a Chevy,
mom and dad up front, three kids in the back,
the windows slightly misted by the sleepers' breath.
But instead of resting, I'd smoke a cigarette,
play the radio low, and keep watch over 
the wayfarers in the car next to me, 
a strange paternal concern 
and compassion for their well being 
rising up inside me. 
This was before 
I had children of my own, 
and had felt the sharp edge of love 
and anxiety whenever I tiptoed
into darkened rooms of sleep
to study the small, peaceful faces
of my beloved darlings. Now,
the fatherly feelings are so strong
the snoring truckers are lucky
I'm not standing on the running board,
tapping on the window, 
asking, Is everything okay? 
But it is. Everything's fine.
The trucks are all together, sleeping 
on the gravel shoulders of exit ramps, 
and the crowded rest stop I'm driving by 
is a perfect oasis in the moonlight. 
The way I see it, I've got a second wind
and on the radio an all-night country station.
Nothing for me to do on this road
but drive and give thanks:
I'll be home by dawn.