10-25-2022

 

Jessica Jacobs

LEAVING HOME

The koi were killed by a possum killed by

our dog, whose barks brought my dad to the dark

 

yard, along with me—his stand-in son, his

midnight shadow. In the glower of the flashlight,

 

the dog’s eyes were red and rolling, the possum’s

fur bright as an errant scrap of daylight.

 

The dog wouldn’t put it down, bent the pipe

of the pool skimmer my father used to lever

 

the body free from his jaws. My parents

gave the dog away soon after. Because, I suspect,

 

wildness can live in the suburbs only so long

as it doesn’t bare its teeth; so long as when the light

 

finds it, it drops its prey and wags its tail;

so long as we confine our darkness to the dark.

 

IN THE GROVE OF SELF-CHARGING TREES

 

Darling do you remember

the [one] you married? Touch me,

remind me who I am.

—Stanley Kunitz

 

It is early enough that fog still skeins

the highest branches.

And twining each tree: a cable

rough-creped as wild grape vine,

with both ends socketed

into the trunk. Murmur and fizz

of power pulled from the sky,

from the earth—power recirculated

by the cables, nothing wasted.

                                                  In a clearing

no bigger than our cabin's double bed, you spread

a blue blanket. We make a picnic

of a peach and a plum. Then, with no top sheet, no

clothes, not even a bracelet—How long has it been,

          love, since we touched? Even

               our kisses are given

                              on the way to something else.

Yet here, our bodies

do not just tighten but seal

fast around the other and we

kiss the kind of kiss that’s like entering

a glass cathedral, a structure that exists

to emphasize the space it contains

while leaving visible all it does not.

                                                     We move

                          into that kiss as we move

into each other—with gentle

                          force, a matched insistence—

and all the trees begin to hum. Self-charging circuits,

all of us, drawing from the world

            a stream of heat and light, which we pass between us

   like a fire that burns but does not consume.

 

I wake to your back; your body

an early-morning house in which all the inhabitants are still

asleep, the lights extinguished, the doors locked and bolted. Yet

beside our bed, the marigolds you brought me

burn like paper caught in the act of ignition, orange and red

petals of flame. And on each of our ring-fingers, the same

silver band: my promise to you,

my charge, that through the forest and fog, through

the busy thicket, I will

never stop finding my way

                     to your door. All I need from you

          is to answer;

all you have to do is let me in.

 

 

 

STRIDULATION SONNET

 

Tiger beetles, crickets, velvet ants, all

know the useful friction of part on part,

how rub of wing to leg, plectrum to file,

marks territories, summons mates. How

 

a lip rasped over finely tined ridges can

play sweet as a needle on vinyl. But

sometimes a lone body is not enough.

So a sapsucker drums the chimney flash

 

for our amped-up morning reveille. Or,

later, home again, the wind’s papery

come hither through the locust leaves. The roof

arcing its tin back to meet the rain.

 

The bed’s soft creak as I roll to my side.

What sounds will your body make against mine?

 

-from TAKE ME WITH YOU, WHEREVER YOU’RE GOING (Four Way Books, 2019), selected by Fall 2022 Guest Editor, Michael Walsh 

Jessica Jacobs is the author of Take Me with You, Wherever You’re Going, a memoir-in-poems of love and marriage, winner of the Devil’s Kitchen Reading Award in Poetry and one of Library Journal‘s Best Poetry Books of the Year, and Pelvis with Distance, a biography-in-poems of Georgia O’Keeffe, winner of the New Mexico Book Award and a finalist for the Lambda Literary Award. An avid long-distance runner, Jessica serves as Chapbook Editor for Beloit Poetry Journal and lives in Asheville, North Carolina, with her wife, the poet Nickole Brown, with whom she co-authored Write It!, a collection of writing prompts from Spruce Books, an imprint of Penguin/RandomHouse. She is the founder of Yetzirah, an organization for Jewish poets, and unalone, her collection of poems in conversation with the Book of Genesis, is forthcoming from Four Way Books in 2024.

04-13-2021

Victoria Chang

04-13-2021

Victoria Chang