I stayed with death
until I lost my shadow. Dumpsters
rolled through me same as before.
The marching out of ghosts
and the kneeding of identity.
I was another spirit in search
of water, missing the feel
of touch. Inside your womb
respite from an umbilical-free
world. Inside, nothing but sunlight
filtering into unformed eyes.
I didn’t know you, really.
I followed my sister
from the train she threw me off of.
Dachau or Paris?
Or was it a boxcar
of yellow grain? Details are lost
the way a foot is too large
for a glass slipper. Life
made me love you
mother. And now I wonder
which train took you away.
There is no place
dry enough for all this rain.
Thirty Seconds at the Light
Her face was earthy and gnarled like a figure
from the Potato Eaters. Her cheeks, red onions
shining in the heat. No time to read her sign.
I didn’t care what it said. All I could feel
was the sun blistering her skin as she balanced
on the meridian. I waved my hat in the air
and she ran toward me smiling as the light
turned green. No one honked.
Thank you, bless you. I thought of the life
my hat would have sheltering one woman
at the height of summer. Happy the chin strap
would keep it safely on her head. Thought
of the other drivers as witness—how we only
have a few seconds to love the world
as the fire leaps between us.
Lois P. Jones is host of KPFK’s Poet’s Café. Her publications include Narrative Magazine, Tupelo Quarterly, and The Warwick Review, with upcoming work in Eyewear. She is Poetry Editor of Kyoto Journal.