WESTERN

Her soon-to-be ex-husband,
who worked for the C.I.A.,
a bit of a cowboy, owned a gun,
she whispered. We crouched down
behind the door of his soon-to-be
ex-home as he pounded with his fists,
hollering ultimatums.
It was like the O.K. Corral,
though unlike Wyatt Earp
I trembled as I slowly
turned the knob. And not knowing
I existed, he
dropped his scowl and blinked,
and didn't say a word,
unsure what to make of
this latest change of script.





MY DAUGHTER SLEEPS
IN A MOTEL ROOM
BY THE PORTLAND AIRPORT

Same tale as the manger,
kinda sorta. This time
the child is swaddled
in a last-legs
polyester bedspread,
lit by nothing more
than a vagrant headlight.
She breathes and it is holy
as far as I'm concerned,
and I should also mention
that she has saved my soul,
and though I made this up,
I'm pretty sure it's true.





IT MAY HAVE BEEN 1994, OR 1995

The blue flannel shirt you wore
when we made love in your trailer
was nearly as worn as my memories
of making love in your trailer.

I can taste the coffee
I sipped when I awoke
and sat at your kitchen counter
naked, and the honey

from my toast is stuck,
a little bit, anyway,
in a corner of my lips
no other tongue has reached.

I remember you kept your Christmas lights
up all year and that
there were many cracks and slats
the morning sun shone through.






A SOLDIER IN THE WAR

After Tom Waits

I simply want to change
out of these clothes and walk
into my yard, rake leaves,
something that falls as it should.




© Mark Jackley

Bio: Mark is a business writer in Washington, DC, whose poems have appeared in various journals. He has authored two chapbooks too: Brevities, published by Ginninderra Press, and Into the River Somewhere, forthcoming from Finishing Line Press.