Self-Portrait as Shop Window

Patricia Spears Jones

After David Rivard

………… On the bus

Thus the passing parade — All Hallows’ Eve

Winds swing the hoop skirt beneath the milk maid’s dress
Of the little white girl complete with Marie Antoinette
Mole on cheek

While into central Brooklyn, the costumes are home
made — the best a young blood
In Diaper — complete with pins — Oh, P. Funk or Red Hot Chili Peppers

………… Cheekbones apparent & a rivulet of veins
Rhymes with what — plains, gains, claims, trains

Bus stops & the texting children act as sentinels
Letting us off or on as they please

I have often mistaken the mocking bird for an owl
It’s a problem I cannot solve. There are other ones, more difficult.

I listen again for the bird’s call. It’s mocking me. There seem
to be cows in Roethke’s poems and birds in mine. Nature is
ever present even unto this great city that grumbles and crumbles
And yet allows the mocking birds song and hummingbird’s wings

to flash like a taste of the cosmos. Oh damn the wind and light
or praise the rain and bright desire for different weather. I stand

in front of these beautiful things and curb my appetite for murder.


From A Lucent Fire: New & Selected Poems
New & available now from White Pine Press
Or via Small Press Distribution

Arkansas born and raised and resident of New York City for more than three decades, Patricia Spears Jones was named by Essence.com as one of its “40 Poets They Love” in 2010. She is author of the poetry collections Painkiller and Femme du Monde from Tia Chucha Press, The Weather That Kills from Coffee House Press, and five chapbooks, including Living in the Love Economy from Overpass Books. Her fourth collection, A Lucent Fire: New and Selected Poems, is out from White Pine Press (White Pine Press Distinguished Poets series). Her work is widely anthologized.

A Lucent Fire: New & Selected (White Pine Press, 2015)