Poetry: Unfinished Sonnet by Chaun Ballard
Elegies, the poet Dan Bellm argues, are poetry’s first reason. We are proud to publish Chaun Ballard’s powerful “Unfinished Sonnet.” It does all the right things a sonnet should do. The poem packs the mouth with sounds, darkly enjoyed—it gives us character and story compacted into14 short lines, and the last two blank: the loss of words for the loss of meaning. What better rhymes with death than empty, blank space?
for Donnell “Don-Don” Romaine Jury
You strolled through the club that night, not mob deep, just a few
boys who wanted to fine-tune rhythm’s beat beneath pleat
and skirt until your pelvis caked sore. You had a few drinks,
you and the boys, not looking to take something new
home—only yourself, and perhaps a memory or two
for the week. After the club closed its doors and feet-
swelled-liquored-bodies poured hood-romance onto street,
you stumbled onto another parking lot where shadow-hued
earth music spewed out the trunks of cars loud enough to move
concrete and dim the moon’s light between bass drops, between boom
boom boom and doom doom doom, Hennessey confidence, aromatic croons
of sweet, sweet, Swisher Sweets.
Raised in St. Louis, Missouri, and San Bernardino, California, Chaun Ballard‘s poems have appeared or are forthcoming in Chiron Review, Columbia Poetry Review, Pittsburgh Poetry Review, Rattle, and other literary magazines. He is a graduate of the MFA Program at the University of Alaska, Anchorage. For eight years now, he and his wife have been teaching in the Middle East and West Africa.