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November Poem

 

It’s the first cold November evening.

I am out driving

And there is a hitchhiker 

Bearing a sign

At a quiet intersection.

I ignore the Cecil Taylor on the radio

To read it.

Perhaps they are bound for some

Exciting destination,

Or a place that I have been.

 

As I drive closer, the words become legible.

DESTINATION, REUBEN JACKSON’S ARMS.

OH, HOW I MISS THEM SO.

 

I am jubilant, flustered.

I squeal to a stop. It’s Donna!

I thought she was married and happy in Philadelphia.

 

We do not speak, but embrace.

I produce tears, she produces a butcher’s knife

And quickly accomplishes her deed.

 

She is careful to wipe the blood

From the seat covers,

And places each finger in sanitary gauze.

I still love you, she cries.

A final kiss and that still potent smile.

 

She still loves me, I moan before dying.

She is still neat and considerate as ever.

My pupils lock on her lovely thumb pointing northward

Across the avenue.

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Reuben Jackson is the Archivist with the University of the District of Columbia’s Felix E. Grant Jazz Archives. He is the author of two volumes of poetry, Fingering the Keys (Gut Punch Press, 1991) and Scattered Clouds (Alan Squire Publishing, 2019). His poems have been included in more than 40 anthologies. From 2012 to 2018, he was host of “Friday Night Jazz” on Vermont Public Radio, and currently co-hosts “The Sound of Surprise” on WPFW in Washington, DC.

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