‘Illness with Attitude’, he calls it,
and I pull out my guitar to pick a chord
for his not-a- swan swan song
I can see him thinking out silent.
‘Did it show up like the wearing of jeans,
slow and faded-in and expected’?
I call, a query to start his blues.
‘No babe, it came on little and hard,
waiting for me to see.’
He says, thinking of a lesion on elbow–
he named it Eve.
‘Did it call you out and push you down,
like a broken leg on a field?’,
I ask, ready for affirmative recall,
but ‘No babe,’ he tells me, ‘it came on
all sweet like a love handle I could ignore.’
He turns to the side for comfort in uncomfort,
and I stroke away from him for mine,
‘Like it calls on us all? Like Death you mean
just hanging loose until we each see it preying?’
A chord, a chord, a chord again,
and he says, ‘it ain’t like death, all natural
and silent and ready for rest after life–
it’s like that pick when you drop it in the belly
of that there guitar and curse in your head
‘cuz your song broke all sudden’.
My song breaks and I lean into his illness
for a look at the blues I just tried to help him sing,
and I land hard on his memory and white sheets
in a landfill of unfinished age and
and the quieting sound of aids
that just dropped him
Divorce me, if you would, from my meaning, for a moment.
All I have to do is cry,
my meaning left behind as a hand-me-down
for sometime later, if you would, allow
my body a place out of context,
a way out of this living for a moment,
if you would.
Just place me in your shadow for a moment
out of meaning or time,
senses only left for existence to master,
a skin and organs for, if you would,
your protection, your use, your
want, mine, all I have
to do is cry.
Bated, for a moment, for you if you would
take me out of my meaning, my context,
this body wanting only to be a shadow
of recordings to take along your moments
and memories wanted
on the protection of my sense,
my mind given peace out of time
if you could, if you would.
Cry against my meaning by allowing if you would
this cry against time and space
if you could
allow this stay of peace mistaken or unbought
by your sight, my body
contexted contacted wholly
please divorce my meaning, meaning sense me only,
and allow this cry.
Divorce me, if you could, from my meaning, for a moment.
Jennifer is a tattooed poet and animal lover who grew up in Virginia and has recently relocated to Cape Coral, FL., where she and her husband have four rescues—one neurotic hound, and three very spoiled cats. Her poetry has been published in various journals and nominated for a Pushcart by Puerto Del Sol, and she spends her summers as an instructor of creative writing and drama at the Cardigan Mountain School. Her first chapbook, Oil Slick Dreams, is available from Finishing Line Press.