ISSUE 47
May 2010

Jacquelyn Malone

 

Jacquelyn Malone has been a recipient of a National Endowment for the Arts Fellowship Grant in poetry. Her work has appeared in many journals including Poetry Magazine, Ploughshares, Sou’wester, Cimarron Review, and Poetry Northwest.

Medea Thinks the Problem Through    

I am the wind—the vortex, the volley, the rage.
If my knees could bend, I could play
the innocent, prepare the hemlock,
and when the skies withhold rain,
quench his thirst.
If the plague comes,
I could smear his plate with pustules of the dead.
If the river bolts its bank and careens
through the ossuary, I could take advantage
of the panic, then climb a hill and watch
his skull float by.

If I make myself small enough,
I could be descreet. But the wind
swells without boundaries. Nothing stands
against it—not oaks, or palaces,
or the child sucking his thumb.
The hurricane howls its deeds.

 

 

When Last We Saw the Stone Saint    

When we chased about his skirt,
the bones around our eyes

still grew, and our laughter rang over
the wall, into the hills beyond,

where—they said—it moves on,
past the solar system, past

the rim of the Milky Way, because
nothing—they said to us—is truly lost.

The light is gone from
the abbey garden where he stands.

From our corner we can see
the streak of a shooting star,
     
but not our saint, though we believe
he still stands there, wrapped in hedges and vines.

When last we walked here, other children
played around his knees. We warned them

to be careful. Stone flaked off
his fingers and his tonsured scalp;

the slate walk before him bulged,
skewed by the oak's roots.

We wait, patient, dreaming
of morning as droughts parch him

and snows seep into cracks.
Soon his legs will stir and burst

the twining twigs. The fingers
of his stony hands, crusted with lichen rust,

will give way and point to where we lie.
As time wheels round again, we'll

find each other. Our laughter,
doubling back, will know us

blowing over the granite walls; our vanished
childhood laughter will fill our vacant

mouths, and he will find us waiting—
like morning dew, like cold, gray talc.



 

 

Jacquelyn Malone: Poetry
Copyright ©2010 The Cortland Review Issue 47The Cortland Review