Two Poems by Jeff Parent


Your neck muscles in sharp focus,
broadcasting down and dirty;
a whiff of you
a little too much like an allergy.

I remember crow noise,
a few hushed words on AM radio
over some saint no one’d heard from in a while.
Only the satellites could say where we’d parked.

We hit eyes
and they were all big
and it was like,
like you were in love with me.

Then you said,
“I gotta pee so bad!”
and laughed

ecstatic, wily,
a single shaft of sunlight.

I didn’t know you,
but I knew you well.

Saint Valentine’s Day

Let’s go to the Sweethearts’ Dance
at the basement of the rifle club.
No cover
but the password is:
your step-father’s death
by hunting,
which is also a story of our first date,
set between us on the table.
A bleeding out,
a ringing in the ears,
the curl of his busted wrist
and the reddish gun alongside.

There was a bird you told me
you couldn’t possibly have seen,
with an exclamation point for a mouth.
It helped the wait somehow,
as real as
drinks and dancing
and the hot fact of metal
on Saint Valentine’s Day.

Born in Montréal on a Monday, Jeff Parent is some kind of poet. His poems have been published by The Fiddlehead, The League of Canadian Poets, The Quarantine Review, Shrapnel Magazine, Train: A Literary Journal, and The/tƐmz/Review amongst others. His work has been shortlisted for Pulp Literature’s Magpie Award for Poetry, FreeFall Magazine’s annual poetry contest, and The Malahat Review’s Open Season contest. Jeff’s chapbook, This Bygone Route, was published in 2020 by 845 Press. Tweets: @yuppoems

Banner: Between, a digital image (c) robert frede kenter Tweets: @frede_kenter

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