Poetry by Jael
Two Jims
by jael bietsch

Night-shattered and wandered away,
He was drunk and into darkness
I could not name. He willed me to stay
but I moved into days with my accidental
scars. He set the first fire
to the bridge between childhood
and the rest of my life. Followed me
across two days, but I turned him
away. I knew my own darkness
when he died out of my arms,
out of my life and by his own will.
I have wanted that pain, remembered
cat-green eyes, forgotten his name.

Another Jim
With brown eyes, withered away.
Tennessee-gravel voice, sleep-soft
lips, he had rythms
I couldn't follow, but he caught me up
in his arms, suffered my accidental
ways. He taught me how
to lose him. I lost him
two times and finally, to his father
who willed me to stay and died
never knowing, to his kid-brother who knew
darker days and brought himself home
with a shot-gun. I remember
incense at one mass and Jim
at the grave. I would have married him
but he sent me away and I've forgotten
how I loved him.

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    ©: 1995 Jael Bietsch

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    March 8, 2000