Jane Adair: Memento Mori

Jane Adair: Memento Mori

A poem about bones; ravenous deer and rabbits; and Mr. Magoo. In short, a poem about near-death.

Vox Populi

i
Some things are best unseen.
The crippled buck in the avenue.
Turn away. Turn away
from X-rays. From the vial of your own drawn blood,
from aphids that filigree the leaves.

ii
A doctor can say osteopenic and suddenly
the body is a house, a Victorian in need of repair.
Strangers find it charming, but you are intimate with its faulty
wires, sloping floors, cracks in the plaster.

He’d like to show you the X-rays:
Here is the ulna, a porch chime tinkling in the evening air,
there is the femur, a rickety spindle alongside stairs,
here are the hips, teacups of porcelain.

iii
The mule deer are immigrants from some old
country who walk our sidewalks at dusk.
They can’t read the signs, they don’t trust
our currency. In groups, they’re bold.
They amble into yards – salad bars
of columbine and lilies – to peel aspen bark

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Jane Adair: Coda to a Marriage

Jane Adair: Coda to a Marriage

How it can sound when a 21-year marriage begins to end…

Vox Populi

This room with its complaining floorboards,
rushing spigots, soft latch of doors,
the blackness of dawn before dawn

with its sharps and flats, a discordant
jay’s first recitative of the day – let
it be defined by disappearance.

This poem would like to report a vanishing,
a woman last seen rising from a chalk
outline of herself, a song escaping

from her throat and winging into black –
notes written on the night sky like stars
uncharted. Her sound is a sound that falls

between the staves of treble and bass.
This is not to imply that she is alone.
The moon silvers her walk. A scarf, on loan,

circles her neck. The man who walks beside her,
unfamiliar. What more is there to hear?
The moon’s dial made its predictable click

from wax to wane, the birds went diminuendo.
The grass surrendered its green. By what accord?
On whose…

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Jane Adair: Soundtrack

Jane Adair: Soundtrack

Vox Populi

Because I was twenty
and in a hurry for the next stage to begin

I’d driven all night to see
the ocean. I was in love
with the young man at the wheel,

the way his chestnut chest hairs swirled
like an animal had bedded there.
I loved the arch of his slender

feet, his fingers with the half-moons under
the nail beds. I slept through
the Appalachians, unbent my legs

in Georgia and woke to a weak Florida sun
filtered through haze, a monochrome
dawn, a turnpike empty and white

as sky. I thought it clever
when he said clear was a color:
the color of everything

that couldn’t be seen.

I imagine that nutria were bobbing
in their brackish dens as
we powered past
roadside weeds sparkling with dew,

taking turns at the wheel in the car he’d dubbed gray shark. Hungry and wide, it plied
the fog…

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Jane Adair: Wishbone

Jane Adair: Wishbone

Vox Populi

For my own good mother cracks me
on the face, sends me

into the meaty arms of my stepfather— the one who usually

says Stop—
but today returns me with a backhand.

I scramble beneath
the dining room table,
the one reserved for special

occasions. I study his scuffed oxfords, her tired feet

in frayed flats. The three of us hushed, panting.

If you could have seen me you’d have thought, pathetic, a girl crouched

like that only I was hard
and still as a blade.
In the kitchen the 12-speed blender,

broken between
beat and grate, listened.
We froze like that. A family portrait—

the one where our faces ached from smiling
at the perfectly browned bird,

Cold Duck chilled
in the Frigidaire,
and the red and green Jell-O-mold

quivered. How to say he threw me back. He helped

flush me out.
He yanked an arm, and she a…

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