Kathryn Jacobs


Listen to Audio Version read by Sean Mahoney.

Sleet snaps abruptly, paralyzing me;
it feels like God attacking. But that's ice
accumulating on the window sill;
just ice. And when it pauses, please don't say
that somebody's reloading:

It's not Him.
I hear the heavens strafe us, see-sawing
until the crack of old wood splintering
makes me afraid of punctures,

and I feel a shadow-something laying cover-fire
when all I've got between the pit and me
are finger-prints on nothing.

He forgives
a little paranoia, though. Because
when ice falls the way shrapnel used to, and
there's nothing but this one pane 1/8th thick
between what's out there and what's stuck in me,

I like to think he gives a little slack
to those who hear spun chaos in the ice,
and echoes of disaster.

* * *


Listen to Audio Version read by Melissa Cotter.

A pancake-colored person flecked with brown
and tough enough to rake your fingers down
unscored; a hot pan does that. And although
she might have been a hundred different things,
the woman I recall was skillet-shaped —
which isn't evil; it just means that she
was batter, and she filled it.

By my time
she had solidified and bubbled in,
which means you couldn't change her. And by then
she'd probably been flipped a couple times,
which might explain the stretch-marks.

You could say
she was a victim of her circumstance.
But if she had been poured another way she might have simply spread herself too thin,
and thrown herself away —


Kathryn Jacobs is the editor of The Road Not Taken, A Journal of Formal Poetry. She is also a professor, a poet, the author of five volumes of poetry and numerous individually published poems (including Wordgathering). She is also the mother of Raymond Jacobs, 1987-2005. The following poems are written both in his memory and about him, as always.