Poetry Journal

Issues / Volume 5 Issue 2 , November 2015


Two Women

Jennifer Compton

  Believe nothing she says. Provide her with a warm coat.
  Believe nothing she says. Give her a cigarette, and a light.
  Believe nothing she says. When her foot is trapped, stoop,
  wrestle with the slab until it yields. Then caress the mark.  
  Wait for her, wait for her, wait for her two hours before
  you give up. Hear out the reasons that she gives with
  equanimity. There will be reasons, of course there are.
  Believe nothing she says. She isn't lying, you wouldn't 
  call it lying, but it is an artful art. A kind of inveiglement. 
  The inconstant narrative of bewilderment. She shivers but
  she’s not cold, she says. It’s winter and we are all cold.
  It’s cold. But fold away the facts, put them in your pocket.
  This is a labyrinth, with a broken thread. Feel about in the
  muck, in the dark, for the two frayed ends and make a knot.
  It might hold. Or it won't. Beat fists against your forehead. 
  Confess. You yourself have been dissonant with grief. Why
  you write this. Late at night, jangled, without recourse to
  irony or impatience or display, at least insofar as that goes.
  You yourself would have tried the patience of a saint. So  
  do anything for her except believe anything that she says.