Posted by: montclairlibrary | April 15, 2020

Poems-in-Place: “Juliet” by Mary Mackey

Today’s poem is by Mary Mackey, from her new collection The Jaguars That Prowl Our Dreams, which won the 2019 Eric Hoffer Award for the best book published by a small press.

Juliet
by Mary Mackey

I was a green girl
fourteen and fresh
my breasts curled
so tight in my chest
that they ached
time pulled through
my body like sap
and I thought love
grew everywhere
like milkweed

Romeo was a human
swagger
we drove over the state
line near the end
of spring
and were married by
a judge in stripped
pajamas
who loaned us a
cigar band
for a ring

I said
look how the dogwood is
in bloom
like the lips of small children
in the naked woods
and Romeo said
let’s stop
for a cheeseburger

I said
when I see a river
I imagine a mouth
at the end
that could swallow us
both

I said
this is the beginning
of a great adventure
I said
I have escaped
into love
and I’ll never be
unhappy again

but there was wax
to take off the kitchen floor
and diapers to wash
and Romeo snored
and I found that love
grows around the heart
like the bark on a
tree
and we had three
children
and nobody died
and you can wait forever
for the balcony scene

© 2018 Mary Mackey
From The Jaguars That Prowl Our Dreams: New and Selected Poems


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