Educator & Poet

Poems & Translations

Jona Colson’s poems have been published in The Southern Review, Ploughshares, The Massachusetts Review, Poet Lore, Prairie Schooner, Notre Dame Review, and many other journals and anthologies.

The Wicked Witch of the West

All I wanted was my sister’s shoes—
the conjuring pair of ruby-studded slippers

to remind me of her before the farmhouse
plunged down and struck in mid-spell.

I had no intention of hunting the girl and her dog,

or the three ignorant friends she made.
I do not like to use my power.

All comes back three-fold
in buckets of water that drown me.

I can see all of my mistakes.
No one is forever loyal,

not even guards or monkeys
that I winged in a rush of gratitude.

Delmarva Review - vol 14
The southern Review

Passport Control

What brings you to this country?

My mother once told me that my breath is strong enough to diamond a grain of sand.

What is the nature of your visit?

After the plane took off, I felt gravity surrender. There is no safety.

How long will you be here?

It depends on what you consider love? It could be days, or something brief said through glass.

What are your plans?

The cabin steamed as we passed the equator. All my plans got wet, and I was showered with a warm mist.

What hotel are you staying in?

Another room is the same as the first. If I close my eyes I am back in my boyhood bedroom, years collapsing under my feet.

Will you be traveling outside the country?

I learn borders like some men learn kitchens—blundering through the knife-edged drawers and slicing my fingers like cherries. I tend to leave stains.

Have a good stay.

My body is awake. There are birds that only follow rivers. They alight on small rocks and feed on the wing in the morning sunglare.


Jona Colson’s translations of Miguel Avero poems have been published in The Los Angeles Review, Plume, MAYDAY, Mid-Atlantic Review, Chicago Review, International Poetry Review, and many other journals.

For more on Miguel Avero


Nada Thiago Rocca en el primer estante

junto a Laura y su Llamar
al agua por su nombre.

La biblia diluvia universal.

Llueve en un verso de Pizarnik,
en un fragmento de Cortázar,
en un poema de Peri Rossi.

No hay polvo sino gotas,
y musgo
y cañadas intertextuales.

Las páginas no se olvidan,

se empañan. 

Library of Rain

Nothing Thiago Rocca on the first shelf

with Laura and her Call
to water by name

The universal flood bible.

It rains in a verse from Pizarnik,
in a fragment of Cortázar,
in a poem by Peri Rossi.

There is no dust but drops,
and moss
and intertextual ravines.

The pages are not forgotten,

they fog up.

Books of Poetry

Said Through Glass

By Jona Colson

“Jona Colson writes achingly beautiful words. The intimacy in his writing leaves you both breathless and aware of the feeling of loss and family… The layers are deep and true.” – Sandra R. Lightner

Read Review | Watch Video


By Myra Sklarew
Foreward by Jona Colson

Whether you know Myra Sklarew and her work or not, I invite you to let her Altamira take you on a journey to other places — physical and emotional. I ask that you receive the words of this masterful poet, teacher, and human. 

Read Review | Watch Video

This is What America Looks like

The Washington Writers’ Publishing House Anthology


By Miguel Avero
Translated by Jona Colson

Translations of Miguel Avero’s poems by Jona Colson