Jim Whiteside


We ran from the back door,
!50!laughing, set little fires

!100!all over the city, small
ignitions, watched them burn.

!50!Told me he worked best
!100!at night, slept all day. Held

lightning in his hands, threw
!50!bolts. Told me There must be

!100!a place for us in this
world. We’ll find it and build

!50!a wall around it. Made music,
!100!sang like a bird or a stone

dropped in a well. Filled
!50!my mouth with fig blossoms,

!100!coated my throat with ash.
Field I planted with spring

!50!melons, field which got no
!100!rain, empty bowl. Even now

I toss with so many
!50!dreams of the guns he kept

!100!so clean, oiled. I think
What if each bullet were

!50!an olive pit? I think What if
!100! his hands were doves?

Jim Whiteside recently earned his MFA in creative writing at the University of North Carolina at Greensboro and is the recent recipient of a residency at the Virginia Center for the Creative Arts. His poems appear or are forthcoming in Southern Review, Indiana Review, Kenyon Review Online, Ninth Letter, and Post Road, among others. Originally from Cookeville, Tennessee, he works as a barista and occasionally teaches in Greensboro, North Carolina.