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In the palm of my hand,
I hold 521 million years.
Though it looks like something
right out of Alien, this life
form doesn’t scare me.
In the absence of answers,
it comforts me—its thick cephalon,
rigid carapace, limbed thorax.
Hard yet fragile, breakable still.

Like my once-held belief
of a 6,000-year-old Earth.

Originally from San Antonio, Texas, Jonathan Fletcher holds a Master of Fine Arts in Creative Writing (Poetry) from Columbia University School of the Arts. He has been published in Acropolis Journal, The Adroit Journal, Arts Alive San Antonio, The BeZine, BigCityLit, Book of Matches Literary Journal, Catch the Next: Journal of Ideas and Pedagogy, Colossus Press, Curio Cabinet, Door is a Jar, DoubleSpeak, Emerge Literary Journal, Five South, Flora Fiction, FlowerSong Press, fws: a journal of literature & art, Glassworks, Half Hour to Kill, Heimat Review, The Hooghly Review, Hyacinth Review, Infrarrealista Review, The Institutionalized Review, LONE STARS, Midway Journal, The MockingOwl Roost-An Art and Literary Magazine, MONO., Moot Point, The Muse, Naked Cat Publishing, The Nelligan Review, The New Croton Review, New Feathers Anthology, OneBlackBoyLikeThat Review, The Opal, Open Ceilings, Otherwise Engaged Journal: A Literature and Arts Journal, The Phare, Quibble, Rigorous, riverSedge: A Journal of Art and Literature, Route 7 Review, The San Antonio Express-News, San Antonio Living, San Antonio Public Library, Speakeasy, Spoonie Press, Synkroniciti, Tabula Rasa Review, The Thing Itself, TEJASCOVIDO, Unlikely Stories Mark V, Vagabond City Literary Journal, voicemail poems, Voices de la Luna: A Quarterly Literature & Arts Magazine, Waco WordFest, Whale Road Review, Wishbone Words, and Yearling: A Poetry Journal for Working Writers. Additionally, his work has been featured by The League of Women Voters of the San Antonio Area and at the Briscoe Western Art Museum and the San Antonio Museum of Art. In 2023, his work was also chosen as a finalist for the Plentitudes Prize in Poetry. That same year, his work was also chosen as a finalist for Synkroniciti’s Poetry Prize for its Issue, “Broken.” He has also been nominated for a Pushcart Prize. Additionally, he has served as a Columbia Artist/Teacher for New York City’s iHOPE, a specialized school for students with traumatic brain injuries, as well as a poetry editor for Exchange, Columbia University’s literary magazine for incarcerated writers and artists. In 2023, he won Northwest University Press’s Drinking Gourd Chapbook Poetry Prize. Currently, he serves as a Zoeglossia Fellow.