Monday, April 16, 2012


Two poems by Justin Adams



Bath-Sheba, Et Cetera

It started with one who would not.
Though she was promised.
I was fourteen then.
To her discredit, she dyed her hair
and married a corpsman.
It’s what she wanted. What her father wanted.
The Bible told her so.
And another spent weekends
braiding her hair,
to stand on the corner of the roof,
to know the wind
would not and what’s more
could not unwind such braids.
The next an out-of-towner,
but so was I.
And we found places.
Soon, a league’s distance
or more I desired.
While mother thought her laden.
(I never.)
Yet another at the time
penciled me in
in the pressing pit
between olive skins and grapes.
She kept me quiet and quaint.
That summer I sat
on her floor and ate leftovers
in a dusty sweat.
I told her so once.
She looked at me for a full minute.
Later, I prayed
with a priest
over shewbread
over a girl
who said she found
Gideon’s fleece,
though hers for a time
was found to be dry.
But who was on the roof
most nights. That’s right.
I thought her above affection.
But she readily scrambled eggs
with me near.
Though others did as well.
She was the smart one.
She told me what I had done.
On Rosh Hashanah, the new year,
I sped for outlying towns,
for a poet. For a virgin. Perhaps.
She tore corners from my books
to, at least, chew.
God those were long arms.
Returning home, a memory came
with shorter than previous hair.
I gave her lunch.
And listened. She thanked me
for my consideration,
but was sorry to inform me
I was a poor dancer.
This went on for two years.
More recently, I heard Abel
means temporary, fading as a morning fog,
And so he was.
His sister too,
walking in the transience
of her own name,
fell thick,
cloaking her own vision,
in regular cycles,
and leaving, knowing not
she would be here still
in a vapor, rising
falling to be known again.



They go barren to workplace
inanimately ornamented
pursuing purchases
to hang about themselves
in thick cloister.
They remain non-communicant
asking what will become of my geometry
when bisected at curious right angles?
We bear no such acquaintance.
They go barren to workplace
jutting with jargon
not too cheap,
god or mammon notwithstanding,
come as y’please
secreted sufficiently small,
and do in deed,
they do go to workplace
and there, and there
they barren go.

Copyright retained by Justin Adams.  Presented here with his permission.  Thank you, Justin.

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