Jars


There are many ways to fill them, so much

on this side of sanity that must be kept.


Buttons, of course you think of buttons,

coins, Q-tips, bolts, wads of string,


but have you given thought

to what should not be preserved?


My brother Sam, for example, would fart

his rankest disappointments


into an empty mayonnaise jar

and keep it on the mantle


until we young ones returned.

"Edgar, I have something for you,"


he'd almost sing.  A flying headbutt,

a body slam, and Edgar


was pinned to the floor, his nose

mashed into the open mouth of glass.


Also this: tiny sharks, dismembered fingers,

unborn anythings: all the bloated


wonders on a laboratory shelf.

If I were a better person I might say love


should never be contained

but forgiveness must be kept jarred


on your bedside table where you could find it

even when you wished you could not. 


I am not that person.  I am the one

who thinks of toenail clippings and lard,


peaches waxing bluish-brown,

the body-juice of bees.


Is it possible that toenails equal love?

Lard, forgiveness?


Might the million jars of our world

choreograph their own end—


wrenching themselves open at the same

exact moment to spew their contents in a whirled


rebellion, the air flocked with all the things

we should have thrown away?


I've been told Pandora's box

was really a jar, and she herself


made of earth and water, a jar

full of the need to open


what the gods had given her—

plague, sorrow, poverty


of mind, and the hope

that what was to come


could be both binding

and boundless.

Copyright © 1999-2017 Juked