Jim Bourey is an old poet living on the northern edge of the Adirondack Mountains. He lived in Delaware for thirty years before this recent move. His chapbook “Silence, Interrupted” was published in 2015 by the Broadkill River Press. His work has appeared in Gargoyle, Broadkill Review, Double Dealer and other journals and anthologies. He was first runner up in the Faulkner-Wisdom Poetry Competition in 2012 and 2016. Jim is active in promoting poetry at readings and events throughout his home area. In Delaware, he was an adjudicator for the Poetry Out Loud competition for two years. He is currently working on a collection of poems about people and places of the North Country.
I said Those are very nice puka beads,
as I stared at them,
hanging loosely in a long strand
on her naked chest.
They almost match your eyes
though I wasn’t looking
at those dark brown wonders. I moved
my gaze to the scar
where her right breast used to live.
I wanted to run
my finger along that vivid line but was afraid
she might think
I was intrusive, or even macabre.
Aloha I said.
She laughed. This was how it began.
Rooms We Cannot Die In
“We have all been in rooms
We cannot die in, and they are odd places, and sad.”
She didn’t want to reveal her secrets,
and they were many, but I wished them
out of her. Dark rooms (though some were light)
became brief stops on a frantic journey,
where time was a demon
as fierce as our need. And the shape
of my world was distorted,
bent at odd angles, as we tried
to make things mesh into normalcy.
followed one upon
I basked in their heat,
amazed at my creative
skills. It all fell
apart, as these things must.
It was a sad day
and joyous too.
Think of all those small bones;
phalanges – three kinds
in fingers and toes, the wrist
with its acrobatic trapezium
and geometric trapezoid,
and the ear sheltering the body’s
tiniest workshop names – malleus,
incus and stapes. In long ago
school days we memorized hammer,
anvil and stirrup ~ imagining a smithy
of anatomy. How small a pile
those bones will make in a future
graveyard dig, when an archeologist
works her gentle trowel. What stories
will their ossification or deterioration
tell a forensic questioner?
this ancient man couldn’t hear.
the hatchet that dealt his death blow
was wielded by his frustrated wife, tired
of his blank stares and nonsensical
Or look at the small bones of his
ankles and knees. A walking man,
gripped by a need
to move on, motion wearing away
at joints and cartilage
until he had to lie down and rest
here in this boneyard, finished
with it all. Or not quite.
Do small bones float
to the top of the pile, pushed up
as skull and femur and tibia and three
piece pelvis sinks deeper in the worm
softened soil? Layers sorted by weight.
A handful ~ a footfall ~ an ear full.