Douglas S. Jones

[Sexy slips. . .]

Sexy slips on his galoshes, drops
the keys like a hailstorm through the mail.
It’s sometimes good to lock one’s self out. He walks
past the carport, past the dumpsters stinking
of late-summer rainwater and turns left
down the long alley, where this year’s thistles
flower like cheap fireworks. Between backyards, the fences are cinderblock.
The alley: a maze without choices. The remains of the recent downpour
pool the graveled potholes. Behind one house,
rotisseried chicken bones chime white—bleached bright of meat
and leached of all taste: Mono Lake’s tufas
pictured in a glossy subscription some years ago.

It’s good to walk where one is not supposed to be,
to breathe-in the small strip of unexpected air. On either side, the world
gets on, looks out to its comfortable streets. It’s good sometimes
to be at once behind and between, to be in suspension, to be the pain
of a dislocated shoulder, floating somewhere between the ball, its socket.
It’s good to be the sensation no one wants to claim.


[Sexy watches the mosquitoes. . .]

Sexy watches the mosquitoes curl from the basement,
the bats, flickering their feast.

He has come to tell Murietta about the cheese
they’re selling at the downtown market,
how they keep it on ice like a fish:
one great eye staring dead past yours.

There is such a thing as marvelous stink—
fire on the tar roof,
this crumbled yum of molded curds.

In the pelican’s nest,
think of the long throats,
the songs a parent coos its young,
of mouths red with downy hunger.

Think of it, and with taste
feel it burn you down to puddle.

Author Portrait

Douglas S. Jones holds an MFA from Arizona State University and is the author of No Turning East. His poems have appeared or are forthcoming in The Pinch, Blackbird, Barrow Street, Chagrin River Review, Potomac Review, Hayden's Ferry Review and elsewhere, and have been featured in American Life in Poetry. He has served as Poet in Residence at St. Chad’s College at the University of Durham, England, and currently teaches at Western State Colorado University.​