I think of Jessie & how easily she paints
the tossed away or just plain
flattened. Blue plastic
swimming pool, cry-baby
doll, right arm
missing, eyes stuck half
open, a deflated K-Mart
beach ball. In watercolors
& oils, she renders them lovely.


Lightning split the telephone pole on Sweetbriar
the same morning I collapsed in Jessie’s studio. I wept
torrents because I figured it out. I love
her but not like a wife or flame. No flirtation
or affair, but with a potency that shoots up
& down my spine like a cliff
swallow flying to earth’s inner core & sailing
with her own wings to the habitable zone
of Andromeda. Thunder moans
as the storm inches
toward the eastern plateau.


Today a Trump rally — hateful & crammed
with race insults — has replaced the weather
report & I feel dragged
down. The weatherwoman at least
wanted us safe. Jessie, my friend,
we are endangered, the peril is behemothic & I’m lost
in my smartphone. I am desperate Jessie;
I am choking; I am buckling. The country’s mood
is toxic & mind poison trickles
through me. I’m like a babydoll
at the landfill. Jessie, with your bright wet
palette, your brushes of ox
& badger, can you find my goodness
& paint it with glint & luster?