Kathryn Jacobs

For A Man I Never Dated

Now there's a man I wish I'd met--not young:
no, forty would be perfect. Boys like that
need weathering before you notice them.
Too short for crowds; more comfortable among
the horses than the girls. A cowboy hat
(you wince--but this is Texas). Muscled limbs
all pent-up, earnest: waiting.

is kind to men like him. Because by then
the wrinkles at the eyes (like accent marks)
guard fences, payrolls. And that smile: engaged
and way-too knowing.

                                               I've a crush on him.
It's unobtrusive though; he won't remark.
It changes nothing, so he's not concerned.
It's like saluting, that's all: something earned.

So Many Valiant Trees

Think sewing-needle seedlings, all grown up:
a silver skyline. "Beautiful," you said.
It took a while to realize they were dead,
their shiny lodge-pole bodies freshly stripped

and sparkling in the rain. Like arrows peeled
by angry fingers, buried bowstrings clutched
so every shaft aimed upwards, branches fletched:
a War with Heaven. And though straw concealed

the many thousands who were lying there
with arms held rigid, waiting for the peal
of some momentous signal, I could feel
how focused nature was; how still the air:

how all the birds were waiting. All but us,
who triggered something in the universe.


He was a boy who loved the rituals
of greeting and departure (stop; let go).
Nobody's ever that uncritical

once they've been hurt. But he was magical.
No calluses, no armor, even though
the world was rough on him. Intangible,

but you could feel it; even in farewell
he made the room glow (stop; let go, let go).
He had an innocence so radical

you couldn't budge it. He was fallible
(it feels so long ago, so long ago)
and failed himself, and you could always tell

how much that bothered him, how capable
he yearned to be. And so I let him go
and lost him, and I feel responsible.

It makes no difference (god, how well I know)
that I invoke him here, in rituals
of overlapping sound, and wish him well
wherever he's adventured (stop, let go).


Kathryn Jacobs has a new book out, In Transit, from David Roberts Books. A professor at Texas A & M--C, she also has three chapbooks, a book on medieval marriage contracts, and roughly 140 poems published in journals like The New Formalist, Measure, Mezzo Cammin, and The Raintown Review. Currently she is commuting to Texas via Michigan (online teaching). Earlier work in Mezzo Cammin: 2009.2, 2008.1, & 2007.1.


Nicole Caruso Garcia
Claudia Gary
Tracey Gratch
Kathryn Jacobs
Erin Jones
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Alexandra Oliver (Featured Poet)
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> A panel on The Mezzo Cammin Women Poets Timeline has been accepted at this year's Southern Women Writers Conference.
Rhea Nowak: I am always intrigued by the relationships between clarity and chaos, rhythm and awkwardness, mark and intention, presence and absence.
32 Poems
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