SageGreenJournal.org voices out of the West, mostly poetry, personal to planetary...
Jacqueline St. Joan
Poet, novelist and memoirist, Jackie is a retired Denver County Judge, lawyer and law professor, where much of her career was dedicated to domestic violence legal reforms. She has a Masters in Creative Writing from the University of Colorado and was coeditor of the anthology, Beyond Portia: Women, Law, and Literature in the United States. Her novel, My Sisters Made of Light, published by Press 53, was a finalist for the Colorado Book Award in Literary Fiction.
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I drive the canyons of the West
The way I drag my finger between
The shoulder blades of the cat.
The earth fired this mountain
Before it was the West, before
Weber or Madison or Curtis
before Morrison or Mancos,
Dakota or Jurrasic.
Flaming Gorge ,
One gigantic rock
Sliced red on the diagonal,
Stacked from floor to
The heaven of the West.
Was it in the West that I loved you?
Pre-Cambrian? Or before that?
Tonight I sleep at the edge of your canyon.
I listen to your starry wind.
Golden light of autumn
Wide, scattered rolls of hay
Shades of lavender and horses,
The sky and fences of the West.
In the face of the wide open
Thighs of the West,
I am shy.
I see the snow-capped sea monster
In the bony Western spine
Of a mountain range risen and resting.
My tongue plays
The words of the West.
All afternoon the crows
Are calling, racing around
The treetops of the West.
Bring the Western sky inside you
Peace is blue.
It is a beautiful thing to wake
in the dark chill of October
and go out into it
where a crescent moon
and two stars appear both ahead
and in the rear view mirror
before you even leave home
to sit on the floor with it
kneecap to kneecap
inhaling the dark clarinet
of your body
only the breath of the tires
the train’s long choo-choo
searching in the rubble of itself
your pounding throat, a bratty knee
a molecule of coffee still clinging
to the root of your tongue
your eyelids lower now
and in front of you wrapped shoulders
of a robe folded with her empty hands
that her, that you, that teacher
with the one word lesson
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