Nebraska Center for Writers

HABITUAL
by Mary Strong Jackson

My left hand reaches the doorknob,
my right flicks the light switch then pushes
the flat screen door handle.
The door opens just wider than the dog's
black body. Thousands of times it's opened,
thousands of times she's returned,
and only now I've noticed her slick
black body between frame and door,
the position of her head, the quickness
of the act, the honesty of the moment.

Reprinted with permission
Copyright © 2005
by Mary Strong Jackson


FIRE
by Mary Strong Jackson


what beast is this who knows fire
and draws light from wood

not just his knowing breath on embers
gentle as a father asking answers of his newborn
but wild as flames contained
yet nearly free

licks flickers tongues fingers
all whisper
draw near beast     surrender!

And every beast ancient and new

      cries inward
   relinquishes
            submits
                 to wonder

Reprinted with permission
Copyright © 2007
by Mary Strong Jackson


Nebraska Center for Writers

COLLECTIVE UNCONSCIOUS
by Mary Strong Jackson

we smile the small
apologetic shrug smile
that happens between strangers

itís brief but time-mysterious
we witness a pale penance
to each other
sorry for the sins of all dear losers
messy souls who break a birded wing
the twig it flies to
the earth it birthed from

we concur with nodding minds
to hope for a new fish
to crawl from the sea
evolve with less greed
and more peace

Reprinted with permission
Copyright © 2007
by Mary Strong Jackson


BLESS 'EM
by Mary Strong Jackson


When Americans pray to Mary
Mother of God
she looks over her shoulder
to see if God is near

because
Americans      bless Ďem
take God everywhere they go

on car bumpers
into other countries
like Pilgrims who brought God to a savage land
natives didnít know the God-Bless-America-God
wasnít with them      yet

Mary tucks a gun in the folds
of her gown these days
thereís something that creeps her out
about these God-loving Americans

Reprinted with permission
Copyright © 2007
by Mary Strong Jackson


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