Kathryn Jacobs


If you were living it would complicate
my life immensely (I remind myself).

If you were even missing, on this date
I could presume you dead, and fool myself
with words like “gone” and “closure.” So how come
I think of you and want to punch someone?

Your sister's married. She has children now,
and they don't know what quot;deadquot; means very well,
but they know Uncle Ray is, which is why

he never comes for Christmas. And by now
I should be over dreaming you rebelled
or someone kidnapped you, but you'll be by

as soon as we get past that:

but I'm not.

You look so promising in the collage
I've posted in the bedroom. And I want
to strangle someone — anyone at all —

whatever it would take to still the rage
I can't let go of. And I want to flaunt
your death in people's faces, and to crawl

until they fix it (anyone). Your face
is back again, forgiving:

so much waste.

* * *


For those who patch a life together out
of detour routes and two-day passes. For
the winter campers and the luggage-lives
and square pegs sandpapered, and compromise.
For those who find themselves on “scenic routes”
that end up elsewhere. And for those who thrive

despite that — them especially. Some doors
are shut: and yes, they might be better (lies
can backfire on you). We hate whiners though,
and no one gets them all.

To patch a life
you don't need bolts of cloth or promises:
just make it work tomorrow. Improvise
one heartbeat at a time, and you may go
to bed each evening, happy— –

Kathryn Jacobs is a poet and medievalist and Texas A & M - C who lost her son Ray at 18 in 2005. Generous, empathic and much loved, Ray has now been 'legally dead' long enough to be unknown to his sister Rachel's two small children. She keeps him alive in her poetry, which now spans four books and chapbooks (the latest , In Transit, appeared last year from David Robert Books) and over 150 individual publications in journals like The New Formalist, Measure, Poetry South, Raintown Review, Whiskey Island and Wordgathering. She also has a scholarly book, Marriage Contracts from Chaucer to the Renaissance Stage (Florida University Press) and fourteen articles.