John Bargowski | The Sun Magazine

John Bargowski

John Bargowski’s patch of sweet corn was over knee-high by the Fourth of July despite a drought and cool spring weather in New Jersey. His newest book of poetry is American Chestnut.

— From September 2023

Total Solar

We took our kids to City Hall Plaza / with its dead-on view / of South Mountain to watch / the moon eclipse our sun / in a certain way we’d been told / wouldn’t happen again / in our lifetime unless we traveled / to a far-off part of the globe.

September 2023

The Skull

When he held it out, I ran / my fingers over the shredded / cartilage of the nasal cavity / and the sutures that fused together / the cranium, the tip of my finger / gone for a second when I poked it / inside a shadowy orbit

April 2023


On my way home from school / with a gang of friends / I would see him outside / one of the bars or diners / near the Journal Square station: / my uncle, rasping the price / of a shine to the passing crowd

June 2022


This time my mother got it all right. / The year, the month, and the day. / The president’s name. Where she’s staying. / So she thinks she’s going home. / When I stop by the rehab center, she tells me / to make sure the heat’s turned up, / the cable switched on again, fresh / milk in the fridge.

January 2022

The Fox Skull

My middle girl found it long after the crows / had picked away the eyes, the gums, / the supple stretch of tongue

August 2013


When the disciple who loved Him most / unsheathed his sword / and sliced off the right ear / of the high priest’s servant, / we all cheered and stomped the parquet floor / in that February classroom

August 2012


Heavy, wet snow all morning, then by noon / the clouds wrung dry, whipped away, / the sky so brilliant after the viewing / and graveside service for our youngest

January 2012

Weighing The Dog

It’s been months / since mud’s been stuck / to his paws, longer / since I’ve had to comb / any burs or ticks / from his thinning coat.

May 2011
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