Three Poems

Beaver’s Pick
Kathryn Jacobs

Ocean Maps

Bad news, as usual: the big black holes
our axis made in shish kabob-ing through
are growing big time, and they’re dangerous:
apologize, Columbus. Studies show
they look like doughnut holes. And if the earth
is round like doughnuts, should we reassess
our view of Chris’s sailors? Here’s a hole
that plankton won’t set tail in, big enough
to suck Australia down and still have room
for Captain’s ego, after. You’d balk, too.

Now, as to why they’re growing: scientists
(as usual) blame warming. Don’t ask them,
ask me. Because to me it’s obvious
that these look just like whales with appetites.
See how that hole elongates, flipper end
making tsunamis over Papua?
He’s got his head by South America—
and folks, he’s hungry: if you have to swim,
remember Moby on the inside ring.
Last but not least, to all those cruise ship fans:
beware, and stick to shore trips. I admit
that he’ll devour us all eventually,
but if you let him rush it—don’t blame me.


The Tin Woodman

We lop off toes and fingers. All it takes
is one quick side-swipe; the familiar grace-
of-god and knock-on-wood near miss. Mistakes
like this just turn your hair grey. Don’t replace

the digits: it’s not worth it. Not to boast,
but I make do with eight. Your legs and arms
are serious, however—and in most
cases replacements don’t fit well: the palms

look lopsided, or your left foot kicks air
when standing stiff-legged. Not to mention costs
like pain and therapy; or wondering where
they got it from, and how. There’s so much loss
to go around regardless that you’re bound
to get your share, but if you can—postpone.


The Musical Dead

Like coins in water: drop, and sink, and gone.
The ripples from a cemetery spread
till they disturb the motions that belong
to other human anthills. The not-dead
dart scattershot, a dance of random jerks
that die out, trying: bounce off, butting heads,
equal and opposite, until berserks
drop them like 8-balls into narrow beds.

The dead however thrum in varied chords,
so disciplined by death, the waves of sound
rise and resound, crescendo without words:
a tidal-wave emerging from the ground
like organ-music, swell and fade again,
stirring our souls to listen—now and then.

I am a poet and medievalist at Texas A&M–C, with a chapbook called Advice Column forthcoming at Finishing Line Press later this year, and a doctorate from Harvard University. My poetry has been published in a wide variety of journals, such as New Formalist, Measure, Acumen (UK), Pulse, Slant, Candelabrum (UK), DeCanto, Quantum Leap 07 and 08, (UK, “featured five” poet), Texas Poetry Journal, Mezzo Cammin, Deronda Review, The Same, Contemporary Rhyme, Ship of Fools, Eclectic Muse (five poems), Barefoot Muse, Mobius, Chimaera, Poetry Midwest and Eclectic Literary Forum, among others. I also publish scholarship—another book, and sundry articles. E-mail: Kathryn_Jacobs[at]

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