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One By One

If a man would be alone, let him look at the stars. - Emerson

One by one the trees die

and the fog their breath fed

dissolves. It too is dead.

At least lifted.


                       Blue sky,

cloud-free, empty of all

mysteries, a mountain

scoured, barren, and made bald,

ravaged by rain.



and the moon's ruined red stain

are the same, when mica

shines to reclaim


                        Their light.

What these rocks have borrowed

flashes along the sharp ridge.

All the mirror-marked trails

falling away,



to become brighter flares

fueled by bare sunlight,

untamed by tree shadows,

answering to nothing

but open air.

A manuscript of Paul Jones’ poems landed on the moon in February 2024. In 2021, Jones entered the NC State Computer Science Hall of Fame. In 2024, Jones’ poem “Geode” was plagiarized multiple times by the notorious John Kucera. Jones’ book, Something Wonderful, was published by Redhawk Press in 2021.

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