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This is Jacket 13 - April 2001   |   # 13  Contents   |   Homepage   |

This issue of JACKET is a co-production with New American Writing magazine
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Martha Ronk — Three poems


If the slightly wet air in the skin is the hillside
is wherever I have to forgive what I have forgotten
is error unretrieved from clouds over ponds
is we’re going swimming she said.
What I can’t remember is what I can’t feel —
the same moist air almost going as the cloud from hill to hill
and what she looked like when we had hung about indifferent to time
   and place.

We had to forgive the backs of knees when it rained
and you can’t go in during a storm she said
you can’t go swimming after lunch and waiting for her to turn around
in the wet air through the length of a 40 years’ day.


The foreign objects are related to the accent
adopted on moving to the coast or the slang she picked up later
slung across the countertop or the glassy essence she was
drinking from a transparent object she got in a pawnshop
which defines what it’s like to hold a cup.

Or water running through one’s hands.

She meant to bring him some as well
and an invitation to an occasion she couldn’t name
like “getting hold of yourself” is wrapping a hand around
or a way of phrasing a song too fast to catch the words.


Those who show up aren’t necessarily the most friendly
or garrulous or even the most potent
but there they are dreaming away in one’s bed
and showing up year after year as if they expected some return.
I guess it’s why they bother given how far away they live,
trying to wrest something out of a clenched up hand.

What was the bit of polished glass or the sandy shell
and if one stares out the window to frame a thought
why the shutter was painted blue, why the rhythm of a wave
and why were monologues invented at all.

New American Writing # 19 and Jacket 13   Contents page
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This issue of Jacket is a co-production with New American Writing magazine
published in the northern spring of each year by Maxine Chernoff and Paul Hoover
369 Molino Avenue, Mill Valley CA 94941, USA
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