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Poetry by Jim Kober

Dive Suit

This Is Not My Stop

The Horse

After Pinning His Neck

Dive Suit

My men unload the hundred pound getup from the truck.

Fifty years stand between me and the last body to fill it.

The lake has been frozen for some time.

I never imagined

today's turnout would be so consuming.

My smile is an autograph to those that see it,

but already I'm having third thoughts.

Running a marathon underwater

is like trying

to out argue your reflection.

A woman stares as the suit is constructed. She wants

to know

if I have more ghosts than she does.

I can't shake what my wife said last.

How can she accuse me

of becoming stranger

with so much strangeness inside her?

The distance felt is expected.

The heavy suit

and weightlessness

as I slip through the ice

reminds me as a boy

I laughed best on trains.

Underwater now, it is time

to time myself.

I know everyone has stories of wanting

and not moving.


This Is Not My Stop

If a change is what you want

we can tear up the floor.

Each night

while you sleep I can rearrange furniture,

put a couch in place of the TV

so we can watch each other until boredom.

If it's change then we can wear wigs,

paint every other fingernail black and white,

get tattoos removed and your beauty mark.

You can spend the day without saying a word.

Newspaper the windows.

Chain the door handle.

Dig deep holes in the backyard

and fill them with salt water.

If you want a change we can believe in miracles,

shred up rose


perform deep betrayals

and refuse forgiveness.

Or I could learn the piano,

write you sad love themes.

I could break dishes

and wash each little piece.

You could dry.

We can go back to the beginning. This time

you don't have to approach me, I'll come

up to you. I'll pay for everything

and be reckless at all the right moments.

When we take the boat out

you can row, my hand feminine

cutting the water.

We'll give into firearms, the way they feel

and flash like heavy words.

We'll buy mace

and you can try it out on me.

We can stack everything

that has ever gone wrong between us

and name it one thing.

We can find a river

and name the river this word.

We can crunch it all together, feel it stark

on our skin,

never knowing the size of impossible.


The Horse

You pick up a dead bird,

huck it against the wind.

Not like a girl. Not like you.

When this is over

we will divvy the emotion.

It rains and red birds stick to the grass.



There is a way

of being clean

that takes a lifetime

without seeing an ocean.


We drove around the block for hours

trying to talk each other out of it.

We drove around the block for hours

trying to talk our way out of it.

We drove around the block for hours

trying to talk.


There is a horse.

In front of me there is a horse

fit onto a stamp in the envelope's corner.

On the opposite corner is your name.

I stare at it, unable to cross it out.

Unable to open.

This letter, this horse, your name

and new address,

all prove the town is mine again.


Today clouds like strands

of curly hair over the floor.

I used a mop

and I used it twice.


After Pinning His Neck

Through small rain light gushes like a tongue on hose water.

I pin his neck down with my knee until he

tells secrets.

Where was he last night? Where were you?

You think I found out by following. That's not it.

It was seeing his girlfriend at the party. You should be happy.

I love it when you catch me lying.

Afterward, I find you at a neighbor's house you're looking after.

Your eyes something like dirt beneath a scab.

You have notes taped everywhere. None mention what's happened.

Yes, I crumbled your neighbor's phone

when you threatened to call the police.

And yes, I cried and hit my face and rolled on the floor,

forehead plastered

with strawberry rug burns.

If this moment is not in love with you, this moment is confused.

Empty myself. Sleep with your best friend. Insure you'll stay away.

I try and feel two months later.

There will be weeds in the reservoir but no creek.

There will be grace but fuzzy.

There will trash cans knocked over empty.

When I tell you about her you clench my hand like jammed gears.

You, my sad piano song, my key of D.

None of this is enough to make us important.

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