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Joshua Jones received his MFA from UMass Boston and is a PhD candidate at the University of North Texas. His poems and essays have appeared in Image, Southwest Review, and Salamander, among other journals. He and his wife live in Frisco, TX.
Boy With A Flying Squirrel
From WTP Vol. X #2
John Singleton Copley, 1765
Hours in, he’s certain he can’t hold the pose
much longer. His right hand aches, draped
in the floss of a delicate leash that dangles
from his outstretched pinky. How much
better the squirrel has it, his mother’s gift
fattening inexorably on walnuts.
When his brother behind the easel snaps,
a servant sweeps away the shells and drops
another nut in place. Because he’s scolded
when he squints in the light of the window
he must stare through, he imagines trading
places with the rodent—extending his arms
and leaping till the billowing membrane
of himself catches the breeze and he bobs
above the house, the front lawns,
the immaculate maze of hedges,
and into the frontier west, to the farthest
sea beyond. Another snap, and his pet
stirs and refuses the latest offer.
He gives himself a running start and,
golden tether trailing, he falls.
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