The Midnight of His Mind


As he speaks to me

Of his troubles,


Someone I know

Stands in a doorway


That connects two

Rooms: the past


And the future.

The past is painful


To look at,

And the future


Seems so

Far away,


But both

Are steeped in


Shadows where

A few lights


Softly flicker

And die away.



Ni Zan’s Remote Streams and Cold Pines


Wandering far
From the city, I


Followed her,



By her hips’




Until she ran


Too far ahead

Of me, for me


To find her





Instead, I come
To find autumn

Sparse leaves,

Gently flowing
Streams, the broad

Expanse of the sky
Without clutter,

Calming. I point
To the mountain

In the distance.
I look away

For a moment,
And it’s gone.



The Dead Sparrow Patterns


Down the stairs. Out the door.

Dead sparrow. Time for work.


Back from work. Dead sparrow.

Up the stairs. The day is done.

The blue light of the morning.

On the sidewalk. Dead sparrow.


The red glow of the evening.

Home is near. Dead sparrow.


For days. Still dead. Still there.

The sparrow lies coldly on his side.


I suspect the weather confused him.

Sun one day. Snow the next.


I pity his poor decisions,

So like a person’s.


It makes me think. Of mistakes,

Of patterns of mistakes. In theory,


If one understands the patterns,

One will be able to perceive


The right time: to escape

The patterns. Of mistakes.


by Joshua Paul Bocher


Joshua Paul Bocher’s poetry has appeared in such journals as Illuminations, The Germ, and The East Coast Literary Review. He has degrees in writing and literature from Brown and Harvard. Previously, he lived abroad in Taiwan for two and a half years. Currently, he lives with his wife in Somerville, MA and works for non-profits in the Boston area.

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