Marc Janssen “The Wooden Cross”


That old beaten up cross 
Slowly disintegrating 
In a planter 
In the early morning,
At the corner of River Road and Chemawa.
Illegible name
Behind a Dollar Tree sun-faded garland.

Are you here in the full throated rumble of five AM delivery trucks,
The buzzing crackle of streetlights,
The ordered red and yellow and green signals,
Are you in the rain slanting in from the west cold and callous?
Is this broken memorial your bequest
Or is there a shadow on someone’s heart somewhere 
Who will move away, go to college, 
And slowly release your face?

Streetscape or mountaintop it’s about the same.
The intimacy of a vista
The formations of clouds
Naked stones
Incomprehensible in each
Namelessly ingrained in the old wooden cross,
The kind that doesn’t speak. 
The way words cling to meanings
The way letters cling to sounds.

About the Author: Marc Janssen started writing many novels but didn’t finish any of them. He’s a sprinter. Janssen did complete a poetry collection, November Reconsidered, published by Cirque Press. His verse can be found scattered around the world in places like Pinyon, Slant, Cirque Journal, Off the Coast and Poetry Salzburg. Janssen also coordinates the Salem Poetry Project, a weekly reading, and was a 2020 nominee for Oregon Poet Laureate. 

Image Credit: Chase Dimock “Desert Wood” (2021)

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