Sleep, Reinterpreted

"If I could sleep forever" doesn't mean
you're tired exactly, though of course you are.
It means...a coalescing in between
your bones and tendons: gummy like warm tar
or caulk before it hardens, filling out
your hidden crevices--immobilized
like solid concrete. And it's not remote-
ly like the sentiment epitomized
by cracks such as, "you might as well be dead"--
as if in sleep the television screen
went blank till morning. You just turn the thread
over to someone else. Which may well mean
that you no longer jerry-rig the show--
but then you'll learn something. It means "let go."

Spring, Maybe

I didn't quite believe in spring this year.
Maybe I got so tired of feeling cold,
I was afraid to count on it. That fear
of moving from the heater--it takes hold
of me at times. So when you shrank from me,
I figured I deserved it. Such a wad
of walking sweaters--it was hard to see
that I was human. Now I earn a nod
at least--and over lunch today, a kiss.
And you've begun to smile at me again,
for no especial reason. I still miss
those sweaty summer evenings, way back when:
But I've seen too much winter not to know
what's happening down there beneath the snow...

Pulling Through

You just don't move your ankle, obviously.
One of those injuries that hurts so much,
it takes awhile to notice that the knee
is also swollen. And although the clutch
you've fastened just above controls the pain,
you'll never walk like that--and there's no way
in hell they'll ever find you. So complain
your heart out if you want to; scream away:

there's nobody in earshot but the crows,
and they won't listen. Possibly you'll freeze,
but chances are you won't; history shows
most people crawl to safety--on those knees--
before they call it quits. The question is,
how many years it takes them to forgive...


Kathryn Jacobs is a medievalist and poet, whose work has appeared in Measure, Midwest Poetry Review, ELF, Candelabrum, Mobius, Texas Poetry Review, and Acumen. Quantum Leap selected her for their "Featured Five" series. She is a professor of literature and languages at Texas A & M University-Commerce.


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Judith Taylor: No one seems to disagree with me when I say there's something compelling about these images. Maybe it's because we're so inundated by the media with narrative that is manipulated and inflated that these honest little private struggles to say something touch us at the core. The eye with which we see them now is not the eye of the young writer, and that distance is interesting, surprising. Maybe the connection between the adolescent girl and the adult woman, or the diary page and the studio wall, is closer than I think.
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