Tuesday, September 11, 2007

The Ballad of Jennifer Rollins

This one’s old. It dribbles its Cornflakes.
It mixes up slippers and buys lottery tickets.
But the story’s new. And it starts at the gate
in front of the house of Jennifer Rollins.

Saturday morning and the breakfast plates
are left wabi sabi on the kitchen table.
A cell phone plays “My Favorite Things”
in the pocket of the jacket of Jennifer Rollins.

The cell phone sings, and buzzes and jumps.
It flashes and winks in Jennifer’s pocket.
The cell phone hides, and peeks, and rings.
Calling “Come on, Jen!” out of the denim jacket.

The cell phone pauses, then starts again.
But Jennifer’s not wearing her denim jacket.
It’s Spring again. It’s the first warm day.
The jacket is hanging in Jennifer’s closet.

The day’s got dogs, a sun and cars.
It’s dried out the lawns by eight o’clock.
It’s emptied the bars down by the docks.
Jennifer won’t need any denim jacket.

The sea’s gone hazy. The garbage stinks.
The ice-cream vendor’s made love to his wife.
The body of evidence is overwhelming.
Jennifer won’t need any jacket at all.

In front of the house, beside the gate,
under the trees, next to her bike,
Jenny is quiet, and cool in the shade.
She cannot hear her cell phone playing.

Jennifer’s smiling, she’s looking up,
She cannot smell the rotting garbage.
A breeze whistles through her small pink ears.
And the grass is staining her shirt.

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