Patricia Wallace Jones

When Explanations Don’t Help

(in memory of Raymond)

It’s hard to live with someone you can’t see.
Like living with a ghost: you learn the rules,
but it’s another thing entirely
to follow them. For instance, swallow tails:
elongated and slim, like scissors in
a surgeon’s hand. Until you see one fly:
two tails, one body. Naturally you spin
about to point…and jerk, and stop, and try
to look as though you didn’t. People stare,
or glance behind you quickly, and away,
because you clearly saw somebody there,
and crazies make them nervous. You could say
you used to know someone who used to care,
and birds make you forget, but… that’s okay.

Kathryn Jacobs is a poet and medievalist from Harvard teaching at Texas A & M-C. Her poems have been published in Measure, Washington Literary Review, The New Formalist, The Chimaera, Poetry Midwest, and many other print and online journals. Her chapbook Advice Column (Finishing Line Press) is forthcoming this November. She has two daughters. Her son Raymond died in 2005, at 18.