BEVERLY JACKSON

  

Hearts on Wheels

The hearts drive the freeway every day
Hear them beating in the air, like drums.
They beat in my heart.
I see a heart of joy driving to its lover,
I can hear its delirious gush.
There's a heart in that Chevy that hates its job.
The one on that sleeve hangs out the window,
lolls in the wind like a dog's pink tongue,
thumps with expectancy.

               Hurried heart! Cold heart!
                           Dark heart! Zealous heart!

Parental hearts zipping to day care;
there's a bypass on its way to a big deal,
in a pickup something tender with gardening on its mind.
A heartless Lexus glides by like a hearse. Its silence
stains the center line. I sing in gratitude for the living.

  I thank the ethers for every heavy heart, for each happy heart,
                         O Land of ever-lovin' heart!

Hearts that skip a beat, hearts that fly by night,
The wind and I exhale you.

The speedometer winks at me.
My foot hits the gas.
Sky opens like a drawbridge,
absurd blue highway.

All around me hearts flutter,
hearts tremble —
their wonderful bleating!


Tooth & Bone

-Bare bones
bury the bones of small creatures
in the velvet moss of me. Spines
of lizards curl like fingers in my veins,
& tiny teeth bleed off my skin like tears.

-Baring teeth,
we breakfast at the Plaza after the wedding ceremony. He and I & his best
man. We drink hot coffee, & order eggs we never eat, misgivings spread
on the table like linen. We jest, avoid eye contact, while our faces grin
back at us from the sterling & reflect on the windows like fireflies with teeth.

-Straight bones,
a woman is murdered every minute,
her face pushed in like a Pekinese by some bully.
Or worse than death, she is shamed for the wet slice
between her legs. Dig it, man. She is your beloved.

-Young bones
my father carried my baby shoes over his heart
during the war. They were too soft to stop Nazi bullets
or to cushion the B-17's fall to earth. Booties, laced
with pink ribbons, found their way home without him.

-Red tooth
men do not imagine beyond the barriers of their resistance.
They sail like foreign freighters in acid rain, unaware of shore.
I crouch, thumbnail locked on the cock of a steely gun,
eyes steady as a hawk-owl, curved beak, red with blood.

-Funny bones
I can hear figs! I can tie ropes of licorice into knots
with my tongue! Grown men have sucked my toes!
I avalanche into the very lap of love. The sweetest surprise
is Lust. I trot like a monk, riding a sway-backed burro.

-Tender teeth
I place parchment across his sick bed, tissue-paper thin
pages of my comfort to warm the shivering body there.
The ink is brown with age; sympathy & solace in sepia.
The poems/my love, so frail/so old, ~ like him.

-No teeth
open your legs, spread eagle! Let us see that purple
sausage of love! No tom-tom can find the rhythm
like a woman with her mouth around a rod!
Never mind if she chokes on her own appalling choices.

-Lazy bones
if I wrote a poem for every man I loved,
there would be more books than dust upon that shelf.
My pen hovers over the blank page, while I stare,
unfocused, out the window, somewhere beyond love.

-Dark bones
when I love again, it shall be the dark, moist earth
& the rotting leaves of fall that kiss this mouth!
Let me go to my quiet peace without the quickened cadence
of the heart. Throw wildflower seeds, not rice, at my wedding.

Originally published in
Iguanaland