Monday, March 25, 2013

Angela Jackson

The Gulf of Blues
The Gulf of Blues
By Angela Jackson b. 1951 Angela Jackson
On the other end of the line
he sounds like my brother
but is my father
telling me about Coony who is fat.
His whole body like a stomach
round all round, fat even on his head.
Eighty and heavy.
How he joked Coony about his weight,
joking him about a tow truck he’d need
to haul him out of the tub
like an old sunken ship pulled out of
the gulf of blues,
leaving whirlpools in the porcelain.

“Quit all that eating and drinking,”
my daddy say he said to him.
“Quit pointing in that garden and reach down
to get it.” My daddy say he joked him,
ribbed him good.
(And I know my daddy laughed gap-toothed,
his mouth, throat, chest, and gut wide
open for the signifying jest.
His gray hair striking back time.)

He sounds like my brother when he was
a little boy, digging in the encyclopedia
for the cause of something obscure, occult,
trying to figure out how old Coony slipped
in the bathtub that was always there
and died like that. Baby Sister called
to tell it first and she wasn’t joking
after all like my daddy thought she was,
Death a sad trick children pull.

On the other end of the line
my father sounds like my brother now.
I know how
Dying, bitter or tender, is the dark water that keeps
us young.
And this gulf of blues, deep and shiny,
the only place to be
between Time and Eternity.

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