Logo, MacQueen's Quinterly
Listed at Duotrope
MacQueen’s Quinterly: Knock-your-socks-off Art and Literature
Issue 23: 28 April 2024
Prose Poem: 358 words
By Jonathan Yungkans

The Moon Decrees That It Be With Us Awhile to Enhance the Atmosphere1

—After the painting À la rencontre du plaisir (1962) by René Magritte2

Or is it me, pulling memories as a basement quilt around my shoulders against the cold, who asks the round moon, rounder than my great-grandmother, to keep me company beside the window? We gaze at each other through the glass of Magritte’s painting—a work of art whose appearance as oil on canvas is a ruse to protect its spiritual alchemy, for in that aspect, it is clear as a windowpane—as it backlights the top of a nearby tree line. Perhaps it was this light which glimmered from the lenses of my great-grandmother’s gold-rimmed spectacles as she tucked my five-year-old self into bed and I nodded off. The moon,

in daylight a pale, mortal shadow of itself, is the round glass ball of the Christmas angel I made in class when I was seven. It hovers in Magritte’s painting out of reach of the bully who shattered it back then into Humpty Dumpty fragments, glittering against blacktop which doubled as the universe. The same kid my mom had encouraged me to have over to my house, to show him the collies we took to dog shows, who taunted me shortly afterwards about all of it in front of everyone at school. I never told Mom about the taunting. Let her stay like a glass bulb on a tree, Magritte’s moon,

so that she may float high and out of reach in its wonder—its peachiness in roundness, if not in color. More like the full moon above the L.A. skyline, pure white and distant, even while seeming close to the buildings and their twinkling golden filigree. Magritte shows its shine but not its face, adding to the mystique that it could flatten the horizon below it into an ocean by a force of will. That could be a welcome change of scene. He leaves a curtain at the left of the painting, pinned open but available. For now, it helps to see the moon is there, safe in its delicate magic.




1. Title is from John Ashbery’s poem “White Collar Crime” in his collection Shadow Train (Viking Press, 1981).

2. An image of À la rencontre du plaisir (oil on canvas, 1962) by Belgian Surrealist painter René Magritte (1898-1967) may be viewed in the press release from Christie’s auction house (8 January 2020): The Art of the Surreal Evening Sale Highlighted by René Magritte’s À la rencontre du plaisir

The painting had been purchased directly from Magritte in 1962 by a private buyer, whose family then held it for 57 years before consigning it through Christie’s in London. In February 2020, the painting sold at auction for £18.9 million (equivalent to $24.6 million) and is now held in a private collection. For more info, see details and lot essay provided by Christie’s.

Jonathan Yungkans
Issue 23 (April 2024)

listens to the pouring Southern California rain well in the wee hours of what some call morning and others some mild form of insanity and types while watching a large skunk meander under the foundation of a century-old house. He is thankful when his writing is less noxious than that jittery creature on the other side of those floorboards. During what some choose to call normal hours, he works as an in-home health-care provider, fueled by copious amounts of coffee while finding time for the occasional deep breath.

His poems have appeared in Book of Matches, Gleam: Journal of the Cadralor, Gyroscope Review, MacQueen’s Quinterly, Panoply, San Pedro Poetry Review, Synkroniciti, Unbroken Journal, West Texas Literary Review, and other publications. His second poetry chapbook, Beneath a Glazed Shimmer, won the 2019 Clockwise Chapbook Prize and was published in February 2021 by Tebor Bach.

More on the Web: By, About, and Beyond

Only a Poodle Separates This Life From the Next, a prose poem by Jonathan Yungkans in Issue 20 of MacQueen’s Quinterly (15 September 2023); nominated for the anthology Best Small Fictions 2023

A Quartet of Prose Poems: “Answering Neruda” by Yungkans in Issue 17 of MacQ (29 January 2023)

It Belongs to Each of Us Like a Blanket, Winner of “The Question of Questions” Ekphrastic Writing Challenge, in Issue 15 of MacQ (September 2022)

Le fils de l’homme, ekphrastic poem by Yungkans in Issue 11 of MacQ (January 2022); nominated for the anthology Best Spiritual Literature 2023

Two Duplex Poems, plus commentary by Yungkans on the poems and on the form, in Issue 10 of MacQ (October 2021)

Cadralor in the Key of F-Sharp as It Cuts into My Spine by Yungkans in the inaugural issue of Gleam (Fall 2020)

Copyright © 2019-2024 by MacQueen’s Quinterly and by those whose works appear here.
Logo and website designed and built by Clare MacQueen; copyrighted © 2019-2024.
⚡   Please report broken links to: MacQuinterly [at] gmail [dot] com   ⚡

At MacQ, we take your privacy seriously. We do not collect, sell, rent, or exchange your name and email address, or any other information about you, to third parties for marketing purposes. When you contact us, we will use your name and email address only in order to respond to your questions, comments, etc.