Jacob William

by Paul Christensen

I was upstairs in Jack’s house
on the flat suburban prairies
north of Dallas, tossing
among the words and muses
of his little studio.  Ten a.m.,
with the stairs creaking
as I came down, the kitchen
air singed by strong coffee.

He was gone, and Thea
left a note on the fridge.
I ate the plums, so cold
and so delicious she
was saving for Jack’s supper.

A mug of java, a chair
suspended in the half urban
sunlight of the room,
the working world having
left this island to the crows.

I heard his son Jacob
in the living room.  He wore
a robe over his lanky bones
and greeted me kindly,
took the opposing chair.

There we were, two orphans
of Jack’s hospitality, homeless
in this wide, too sunny plain.
Thank god for the roofs
that contain our imaginations,
I said, and he looked up
as if I were making sense.

He died at twenty three, letting go
from a rope Jack had tied
securely to the sky,
and I could understand
after a morning’s unrehearsed
duet of nut cracking
why he loved him.