By Sarah Jones
He rides a horse // by the fire station
______in Falls City // to slip his resume
into the soft hand // of a secretary—this happens
______before he says, // You carry yourself
in an idyllically classy way // I’d be proud
______ to have you // on my arm. _____ I only think
of alliteration: // of belt buckle—
______the one he wears // while singing karaoke.
_____________________________I take my fishing pole to Beaver Lake
_____________________________after work and a blackbird squawks
_____________________________a breathless death song at the roadside.
_____________________________She has no friends circling the bruised
_____________________________sky, so I sit in the gravel beside her, wait
_____________________________for night to bleed in between the stars.
On Hinge, a man miles // of mountains away
______ sends me a message: // I’ve been staring at your
clavicle for hours. // And I consider all the bones
______ of women beneath // the earth’s surface—
how this man’s bootsoles // must sound against rocks.
_____________________________I enter the chicken coop with a baseball bat
_____________________________and basket as my mother has coached.
_____________________________The bat I one-handedly swing at
_____________________________a buckish cock kicking up chicken shit
_____________________________and feathers. I don’t intend to hit him—
_____________________________just snatch the eggs and run, but I see
_____________________________the scrawny hen he plucks to patches,
_____________________________and I wonder about the sunglasses
_____________________________my mother wears indoors.
My ex says, I do // more than most men,
______or here’s a pillow // perfect for suffocation—take it,
put it on your face. // My grandfather pours the concrete
______foundation of his house, // my stepdad rebuilds
cars and cooks dinner, // my uncle drives his kids
______to school after working the night // shift. What’s
more than most men? // What’s more than most women?
_____________________________The goose’s head is still on the chopping
_____________________________block. Her headless body runs around
_____________________________the yard—blood coming from her neck
_____________________________like a slow sprinkler head. She rushes into
_____________________________the Bermuda grass at my ankles. My ankles
_____________________________itch—and, for not crying, I am tough.
Another Hinge connection. // This time by phone—
______You’d look great on my // motorcycle, he says.
I’m also smart, I say. // Yeah? Well, you’d still
______look great on my motorcycle. // This feels
like the definition of female // or cartwheel or dog chasing tail.
_____________________________In the potboil is a cow’s slick tongue—
_____________________________rigid and rolling in its fatty dross,
_____________________________each impurity clumped together
_____________________________like an inkblot or divination. O Oracle!
_____________________________O Ladle! Speak to me of the sour
_____________________________stink in this house. Help me remember
_____________________________the soft ears of a calf.
Sarah Jones is a Seattle-based poet and the author of the chapbook Lies I Tell Myself (dancing girl press & studio, 2018). Her work has been nominated for multiple Pushcart Prizes, and she has been featured in Poets & Writers Magazine and on NPR. Her poems have appeared in The Normal School, American Literary Review, Entropy magazine, and Maudlin House. She is an editorial assistant of Poetry Northwest magazine.
Originally appeared in NOR 29