JACOB HALL 

 

WHISTLE

In the gorge of this my body

paces. I can’t keep track of the living

or the bits of it I’m told to keep

close to the world. My list of things

to do isn’t really a list—it’s more

a figure that can’t stop growing

limbs. A reach of gaudy appendages

and people I don’t want to know

anymore. Last night I passed out

on my neighbor’s lawn because there

was a kind of air that writhed into me,

unrequited, like I had something

to learn from it—something about

a blade of grass, the way it blasphemes

rupture, green and alive, all the shit

I’m inclined to put on it. Like when I

was a kid and I would sit in the pasture

out back of the school and pull a single

blade taut between my thumbs, trouble

my mouth against it like I’d seen

other kids do. But no matter the shape

of my lips, no matter the posture of my

small fingers, I couldn’t make it whistle,

couldn’t loose that sweet pitch like magic

no matter how hard I blew and I knew

that was on me. Sitting alone in that empty

field, not whistling, just not being able

to do it—that’s where I first learned

about mortality. I thought the blade of grass

an appendage, gaudy and beautiful.

I imagined dying as an imprint abandoned

on the back of someone’s lawn. Now

when I think of god, I see a thousand

clumps of hands sprawled across an empty

field, each with a blade of grass tucked

between the thumbs, unable to make a sound.

 

Jacob Hall was raised outside of Atlanta, GA. He holds an MFA in Poetry from Bowling Green State University and is a PhD student in English at the University of Missouri. He has worked as assistant poetry editor for the Mid-American Review, and he currently works as audio editor for The Missouri Review. His work has appeared or is forthcoming in New South, The Carolina Quarterly, Menacing Hedge, Stirring, Poetry South, Santa Ana River Review, Madcap Review, and elsewhere.

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