Jonathan Louis Duckworth

Fragmenta II

the ballerina
encased in Baltic amber*

I keep playing the record
again & again
until Sinatra, tired**, pleads for a smoke

“here be dragons” the map reads, because
this is less frightening*** than a tract
of nothing

“where have all my friends gone?”
“the Hidebehind got them”
“how do you know?”****

the architecture***** of joy
affords no scaffolding, no buttresses,
it rises; it stands, or it does not stand

* succinite, commonly found washed on shorelines of the Baltic Sea; the ballerina will have asphyxiated

** according to thermodynamics, eventually even the memory of you must fall to entropy

*** the chemical formula of fear is 75% hydrogen by mass, 15% elemental carbon, 8% oxygen, 2% argon

**** answer: “I am the Hidebehind”

***** when they saw the wall was finished, the engineers cheered: “What magnificent bones we will leave; the spine of giants.”


Jonathan Louis Duckworth received his MFA from Florida International University. His fiction, poetry, and non-fiction appears in New Ohio Review, Fourteen Hills, Whiskey Island, Meridian, Tupelo Quarterly, Jabberwock Review, Superstition Review, Flash Fiction Online and elsewhere. His chapbook “Book of Never” was published by Finishing Line Press.