Meditations by Joshua Poteat

Winner of the 2004 PSA Chapbook Fellowship

Meditations by Joshua Poteat, selected and introduced by Mary Oliver.

Edition: 500 copies of the winning books were printed by the Prolific Group and designed by Gabriele Wilson.


In this way Meditations is a dramatic book, a kind of words—or mood-theater. Poteat tells me things as if I were an audience but invisible. Or as if I were the moon. Yet something real passes between us, which is to say that the book is very good, that it leaves its mark.

—Mary Oliver

ii. How to Know the Wild Fruits

There comes a point when the wild fruits
             are unknowable, their small heads turning
away from us when the wind is right and warm,  

the night in its hammock swinging the grouse to sleep.

To know buckthorn is to know the belly of a bear,
            the black flesh made new, the black path
to the ice trees where cloud is swan. 

(And the quiet plum won’t say a word.)

The dwarf pine blossoms only after fire.
            This is not a fruit but a way of disappearing,
a flame caught red-handed in the infinite brown grass  

                            where the poison ivy lives, itself a fruit for starling 

and wren, and for the skin of mouths our bodies
            speak of: blister, ooze and forgivable sin.

All rights reserved. Reprinted with the permission of the author.

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