Jill Alexander Essbaum


Parting Song

it is one day without you.

Then two.
And soon,

our point: moot.
And our solution, diluted.

And our class action (if ever was)
is no longer suited.

Wherewith I give to looting through
the war chest of our past

like a wily Anne Bonny
who snatches at plunder or graft.

But the wreck of that ransack,
that strongbox, our splintering coffer,

the claptrap bastard
of the best we had to offer,

is sog-soaked and clammy,
empty but for sand.

What Isn’t Mine

Let us tunnel
Through the rubble,

Through the thrum.
Let us rut through the sum

Of who we were,
Or are,

Or will be in the years to come:
A couple

Of someones
Who used to be in love.

Used to be in love.
Ho. Hum.

These days: Seem to be in hate.
Gypsum, marble, pyrite, slate.

See here. A pit of snakes.
Look there. The rock of your rages.

And I’ m in a cable-cage, slinking down your shaft.
You fondle that hefty What if...? as if


5 am. One-quarter past.
Distant chimes inform me this.

A bell peal knells the mist.
And sunlight’ s

not yet bludgeoning.
But some light gets blood going.

Last night it was snowing
and now

every path’ s a pall.
Though mine the only footfalls

at this hour of awe. Above
hangs a canopy of needle leaf.

Below, the season’ s
mean deceit —

that everything stays
white and clean.

It doesn’ t, of course,
but I wish it. My prayers