Hoyt Jacobs


adapted from the folklore of Russia, Poland & Germany

A father and son enlist that winter. Falling
snow and ash. Boot-tracks like angular brick—
work, then easy hills. Then, sheets of pure white.

The air fills with smoke, the sky above
their home is mortar and fire; near and far,
the threshold of battle is a swift river

cutting into ground, as animal scent
swirls from the center of a new wind.
Before it congeals to brittle rust,

before it soaks through and stains the snow,
blood must pass through uniform. It runs silent
along its path, breathing the air between

skin and cloth. The father dies. The son
also dies. Their phantoms meet on the forest
road, speechless. From the trees above,

an owl’s call reaches a vole. And so too
the men find one another in the progress
of a perfect past, the way all ghosts search

for home. The way of fathers and sons:
shadows without edges, new as dawn,
and as old and unspoken

as words can be… Between
the trees, two white animals:
a tragic moon, back turned

to the night sky, and a snowshoe hare,
frozen in the whiteness of a white clearing
halved by snowmelt creek.

Hoyt Jacobs

Hoyt Jacobs received his MFA in poetry and translation along with his MA in TESOL from Queens College, CUNY where he taught poetry and worked as an editor for Ozone Park Journal. Jacobs most recently worked as a reading and writing tutor at New York City College of Technology, and was a member of the Oh, Bernice! writing collective. In January of 2015, an avid cyclist, Jacobs was struck and killed by a truck in Long Island City. His work can be found in The Kenyon Review, Plume, Storyscape Journal, and other places. His posthumous volume of original poetry and translations Translating Requiem is forthcoming from Hanging Loose Press.