Four Poems

Promises

We cuddle, and I feel you worrying;
you think I'm fragile. But you're safe with me,
or safe as caring can be. I won't lie:

we lose people. And love keeps happening.
You never raised a son from infancy
and watched him disappear; you're just a guy

who spent your early years adventuring.
So this is new, and we get used to free
until it stops. And when you said “goodbye”

you said it first. And you can count on me
to love you back, but all the worrying
on earth won't make forever. And I'd lie

except I'm past that; all I'll guarantee
is that I'd never hurt you carelessly.

 

Traffic Jam

The lanes peeled off like band-aids, asphalt coiled
in cast-off curlicues. You should have seen
how shocked those drivers were, stuck upside down
like flabbergasted flies with metal skin.
They were just features of the exit lane

till “something happened” (world gone literal)
and they 'peeled off' in earnest. As for us:
we rubbernecked, took out our cell phones (“snap”)
and messaged (“stuck in traffic, literally”,)
but no one not-there noticed. Entrances
smoothed down adhesively in seamless strips
(a giant, crisscross bandage); they said “merge” –

but it was difficult. Discarded lanes
like tins of anchovies with missing keys
had folded pickup trucks and wrinkled beds,

while underneath the ripped-up Georgia clay
gaped open to the sky like ripple-skin
too sensitive to touch. We got away:

“Yes sir, I'm late this morning. Traffic” (shrug). 

 

Three Wishes

On certain days the stained-glass butterfly
gets stuck between lead strips. And on those days
(if you should try to fix it) you'll find mud
inside what should be beer. Luck has a way
of hiding pots of gold in bars of lead.
I rhapsodize with poets dead and gone
by wrestling with a chubby leprechaun.

An artisan of stained-glass window blue
can replicate Madonnas without end.

And that might be enough for common days.
But if you want to see the world askew
you'll squat and clutch that mischief-minded man
until he takes you dancing with the fey:
the time for artistry has come and gone.

I'm wrestling with a chubby leprechaun.

 

SNAP

A green-and-yellow marsh-meadow, with frogs
erupting happily in high pitched squeals
at not-quite-warm, but soon. A little mist –
along the edges, mostly; just enough
to blur the boundaries, which were softening
like patient cream cheese. And because of this,
a camera man with tripod, waiting for
the perfect picture. Arcs of colored light

the wet caught, rising: that was part of it.
And then the backdrop: plunging mountain sheers
with huddled snow-spots. But it helped, I think,
when something heavy moved the puddled grass
and startled the abruptly silent frogs:
a gap within the grasses, breath held: SNAP.

 

 

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About Kathryn Jacobs

Kathryn Jacobs is a medievalist from Harvard University. In Transit, appeared last year at David Roberts Books. A professor at Texas A & M - C,Kathryn has 4 volumes of poetry, 14 articles, over 140 published poems, and a scholarly book, Marriage Contracts from Chaucer to the Renaissance Stage, by Florida State University. Currently Dr. Jacobs is on sabbatical in Michigan.