Poetry: The Salesman by Jackson Arn

Arn’s “The Salesman” shows all the qualities of a good contemporary sonnet, the perennial form: the subtle bending rhymes inside and ending the lines, the compact story, the lines that break rhythm and syntax with purpose, and the well-timed, twisting volta. Send more sonnets like this please.


The Salesman

Mercury plummeted, the township slumbered
we traveled south or switched to running lumber
and wondered who’d try otherwise. His body
responded in the spring and we remembered
our mothers’ admonitions, boiling leather
the pots and pans mockingly full and hunger
like sleeping dinnerless but harder

he had a mouthful,
when we broke the door, of leather
he could have peddled in a month, and pages
of sacred admonitions chewed to drivel
the ink had melted on his tongue and black
and red connected tooth to neck
mocking the rest of us, writing a new book.



Jackson Arn

Jackson Arn’s writing has appeared in The Los Angeles Review of Books, 3:AM Magazine, Public Books, The Point, The Rumpus, and other publications. The first story he ever wrote was about aliens invading the Earth. They won.

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