Two Poems by Christy Jones

Shared noodles, over concrete

for Vida

“I hid from it. I mean, I ran to the garage,”
She said. Her beef stroganoff had paled, cooled
As she spoke, stilted-steady, knowing the words
Could exit and be their own creatures, not in cages
But not free-range, either; in houses, properly locked.
I remembered when, before, we’d seen a dead bird

In this same place, speaking of other treacheries, the bird
Carcass, when noticed, halting her sentence like a frightened garage
Door about to hit some invisible leaf. We couldn’t go back, locked
Into this deeper thing of death: a body cooled
Splayed, feet up, on concrete. I wondered aloud if cages
Could have protected it, but those were just words

To say. I ate my own stroganoff, wondering what words
Could be offered for this destruction. If a bird
Demanded our sympathy, what of us in eight-story cages,
Holding a jagged memory of a garage
Escape? What had she wondered? ‘Had he cooled
Off? Would it happen again? What was it in me that wasn’t locked

Tightly enough? Or was I locked
At all?’ And when she spoke it, in brave precocity, the words
Offered back were a warning, a critique, a shame: no cooled
vengeance like an osprey’s sacrifice for her baby bird.
Her presence wasn’t fit for the family home; only the garage.
Somehow, the song of her nest was not “Men like that deserve to be in cages,”

But they were extended to her. Steel-quiet cages
Draped in the dark, evil velvet of honor, locked
From the outside while she found safety in a garage.
“I was weak,” she said. “That’s not how I see it,” I started, words
Clotting in my mouth. We couldn’t go back, not from the bird,
Not from this, but I let my lips part; my teeth cooled

By oxygen inhaled at a new angle. It had to be cooled,
All this breath enclosed and set free from rib cages,
Faint and fragile as the hollow bones of a bird,
Not simply a bone-pile, but formed, locked
Into the skeleton of her history, a truly emerging anatomy of words
Guiding her here from a cramped, macabre garage

She looked backward and forward at the cages, understanding they must be cooled
To be seen; the garage slowly, laboriously pushed open to allow the bird
A new flight. She locked the styrofoam holding her lunch and graced me with more words.


Seaworthy

My every tangled lobe is occupied
by water’s heave, yet ocean’s daughter, too;
I won’t be shackled by the tide.

I thought I had no true right to reside
upon a newborn island’s point of view;
my every tangled lobe preoccupied.

I’ve felt the snarling wind as I decide,
revolving liquid, jetsam to a roux,
replete with shackles by the tide.

Succumbing to the apathetic ride
of what’s been done as what I needs must do;
my every tangled lobe now ossified.

My will gasps air, remembers I’m supplied
my own brave oar to flex the waves anew.
I snap the shackles of the tide.

So though the currents seep dissatisfied,
I row north toward a holy rendezvous.
Though every tangled lobe is occupied;
I won’t be shackled by the tide.




Christy Jones is a Minnesotan poet, singer, actress, and playwright. She earned her MFA in Creative Writing from Lindenwood University and has works published or forthcoming in The CollidescopeReckoning Press, Eunoia Review, and Crêpe & Penn, among others. For amusing retweets on linguistic oddities and musical theater errata, follow her on Twitter at @cjosings.

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