Jeffrey’s work online at Mystic River Review
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Original photo of Jeffrey Green by K. Visser. All rights reserved.
One does not stop missing
Even what was imperfect.
A faint taste of blood
Colors all my food,
The remembered ache
Of infected root.
Wake up. Don’t put on your watch. Just think
How little ties that watch to the word, “your.”"
For between “your” and “dream”" does any link
Survive the foot’s first touch of chilly floor?
Had you died in your sleep, or had a thief,
Snagged the watch, soft-treading through your dark rooms,
You’d concede that being yours, a belief
You lay on like a firm mattress, assumes
What cannot be demonstrated about
Watches and selves. Your wife is still asleep.
You possess nothing. The idea is daft.
This moment chuckles in a silent shout.
You have buckled on a watch you can keep
No more than breath or laughter that’s been laughed.
Sometimes. Not sometimes: often. Too often.
Eyes glued to the rear-view mirror, careers
He might have made for himself, had he been
The sort of man who knows which way he steers.
Here he is, past fifty, on the downslope.
Not invited to conferences, he sits
On no boards. Quoted in no paper, hope
For celebrity’s long lost, he admits.
Yet better underestimated than
Ridiculous -- he knows that’s true someplace.
He doesn’t like the him another choice
Would make. . . Driven to do because he can.
Though if you take his modesty at face
Value, you’ll hear dark acid etch his voice.
Remember Eldad’s and Medad’s cameo appearance
In Numbers Eleven? Like relics of vaudeville they perform
Their act in camp. It must been an experience
More like sailing a ketch in a sudden storm
Than doing a routine with another sixty-eight elders,
When you’ve got your lines down pat. Joshua heard
And wanted to jail them, but Moses shrugged his shoulders.
“If only all the Lord’s people” -- he deferred
To the obvious truth that Eldad and Medad were out
Of control -- “were prophets, and the Lord would put His spirit
On them.” Moses had a plan about
As practical as anarchy but never thought to fear it.
Joshua’s outlook showed more common sense:
A prophet’s place is safe behind a fence.