Poems by Angela Jackson

Practicing Patience





Woke up this morning with The Blues
all around my bed / Tried to eat
my breakfast / Blues all in my bread.
--Traditional Blues line

this is the moment between night train whistles.
bitter the end at the stair of notes.
the blue spaces in the spider's Reconstruction
That's how you live between paycheck and payment due.

pp Your mouth is a flat blue coin purse.
Lips spent kisses,
and tongue bankrupt
of bliss.
What air robbed you?

Every bone begs advocate.
Each rib needs a union.
At least conspiracy. Yet
for every sole
and palm-
a callus.

Last night trains whistled and pulled your last reserves
all aboard.

Your hair went on strike.
Nothing's been right, but your right palm itching.
Then your

You doing these luckless chores
and their children and children's children.
Your hands roughened
by disappointment.
Trace the meaning of that word
in your palm if you will.
You asked for bread.
You could break your teeth on the song of what you got.

From AND ALL THESE ROADS BE LUMINOUS (Northwestern University Press,1998)