New skiff of snow on the roads and lawns
and a full moon above the night’s overcast.
I drive past two neighbors — two older men —
shoveling slush, their sidewalks scraped clean
so passers-by won’t slip and crack an elbow.
Both men, now paused for conversation, side-by-side,
each leaning on his shovel, one stomping his boots
and the other craning his neck aimlessly skyward.
One says something offhand and the other
adds a thought back, neither casting an eye
directly face to face, as their meanings rise
in huffs of breath and float off into the vast
and lonely black. They have nothing of substance
to say, at least nothing said outright. They relish
a stolen moment like this, and dawdle
shoulder to shoulder like a team of unharnessed stock
put to pasture, a moment I too enjoy, nodding
with these men wordlessly. As I tap my horn in passing.
Lowell Jaeger serves as Humanities Division Chair at Flathead Valley Community College (Kalispell, Montana) where he has taught writing courses for over 30 years. As founding editor of Many Voices Press, Jaeger compiled New Poets of the American West, an anthology of poets from 11 Western states. His most recent books of poems are Driving the Back Road Home (Shabda Press 2015) and Or Maybe I Drift Off Alone (Shabda Press 2016).
Oracular the filtered light of oak
through her peignoir She comes to me as though
her spell was never broken I’m still twenty
I can smell those pungent oranges in the sun
I narrate to him that last night both partners
thought they’d given everything up for the other.
It was ugly. They didn’t get, they wouldn’t get,
what they’d hoped for. I editorialize
that I think rage is clichéd in marriage
after a decade and a half.
There was a study done
to prove that men and women
have different brains
to prove, I suppose, that
women are from venus
and men are from mars,
that men want to fuck
and women want to marry
or some garbage like that
the drinking glass
across the room
against the wall
I had said
a wrong thing
that what is frozen roars for eternity (and that’s too much for us) while gashes in our wrists will bleed ceaseless, fluttering crimson ribbons.
she hits the keys
with one finger
like she’s jabbing someone
in the shoulder
or chest during
a fight because they
refuse to listen
oh, blundering human,
tread your life’s labyrinth
back to the beginning
I have never slaughtered a pig.
My hands, though slathered with a sheen
Of melted flesh, are swiftly cleaned
With a simple paper towel.
The cottonwood trees watch. Whisper. A
lyrical business, theirs. Bored by the Wind
River, they turn toward the termite-nibbled
The Pacific begs me to swim away, anything
to keep us from strangling each other
on the boardwalk. The Freakshow
is where our love belongs, a two-headed
oddity feasting on dust and bone