Two Poems

Kathryn Jacobs

The Sky's the Limit
Photo Credit: Jason Mrachina

Put Those Skeletons Back in the Closet

We owe a little something to the ghosts
who bump along behind us like the child
we used to be, and ran from. You can hear
them whimper sometimes, feeling obsolete

because the rules that worked for them fell off
like wheels on carry-ons. You feel a bounce
as something jolts behind you, corner scuffed,
and how long will they hold together (must);

like running through an airport. And you think,
“I have to get there, first.” You can re-pack—
but not here in the lobby, underwear
spilled out while strangers detour round you (“oops,
you didn’t see those condoms”). Don’t take off

your memories in public: ghosts still care,
however in the way and out of sync.


The War to End All Wars,
Innocents Abroad

A vast array of Kiwis, mostly dead,
although the tourists weren’t yet. Well, and me,
the awkward and despised American
from (don’t admit it) Texas. Alien.

I wax apologetic: see, no guns.
They nod, impressed. Do I like Wonder Bread?
Kiwis meander, but they never see
Americans Abroad, except for me.

And now we’re visiting Gallipoli.
We didn’t die here; sorry. Not my dead.
(I feel embarrassed). To their countrymen
this is the moment “Anzac Day” began.

They know sons die. But they don’t disappear;
They’ve never wished someone buried here—


Kathryn Jacobs is a poet, a medievalist, and chief editor of The Road Not Taken: A Journal of Formal Poetry. She has four books of poetry, including a full length anthology from David Roberts Books and three chapbooks from Finishing Line Press and Pudding House Press. She also has a book of criticism (Marriage Contracts from Chaucer to the Renaissance Stage) from the University Press of Florida, and over fifteen articles in Chaucer Review and Able Muse. Over 150 of her poems have appeared in journals on both sides of the Atlantic, from Slant to Whiskey Island, Xavier Press, Poetry South, the New Formalist, and Measure, etc. Email: jacobskathryn2[at]

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