Hearts

Jason and Juliet

Jason Chambers is a truly remarkable poet. When he reads at Chico Feo, the crowd automatically hushes and hangs on every breath.

I appreciate his granting me the privilege to share this recent poem and to recite it in my gorgeous Lowcountry baritone.[1]


[1] My former students will recognize that italicized well-worn phrase, a tongue-in-cheek self-tribute.

The dirt’s gone to powder

and with the first hard rain

it’ll all wash to nothing.

But now it’s soft and cool,

and lying there curled on a pillow

of her own fluff is the feral

from the woods next door.

I back the truck beside her

and sit idling

and begging her with my eyes

to only be sleeping.

And just as they start to wet

she opens one of her own,

and yawns.

That’s a good girl-

you go back to sleep.

It’s jerky for breakfast

and drink for dinner

and less and less

of me remains that isn’t

absolutely necessary.

Last year’s suit don’t fit.

Who even wore it?

Do I know him?

I’m a drunk of yearning love.

I have no resume,

save this:

One summer day,

with kids not mine,

I did swim and slide my

way through a creek salted

with the tears of god

and lined in oystershell

and we covered ourselves in mud

and dove from boats not ours

and laughed at the rain

and we all three come home

unscarred,

and forever wild.

We are held absolutely.

The hearts on my shirt protect me-

I’d die for the hands

that drew them.