My Career on the Boards

And then we lay still in our bluestem fortress.
Nearby are headstones, leaning and sinking.
An apple in hand, a hat that reads SPORT,
“So what are you, really?” he asks like a sphinx.
…………….“That’s,” I laugh, “what the miser said
……………….When sophomore year I played
…………….The cloaked and tight-lipped dead-faced

Ghost of Christmas Future: Remember my winging,
Straight at Scrooge, one long-nailed finger?”
A friendly tease is a pleasing thing.
I watch his teeth break the apple’s skin,
…………….And with mineral glamor he arches a brow.
……………….“One year,” I add, “I wore a cloud
…………….Of beard and played the shouting

Cheddar-loving cruise-ship castaway—”
“Always,” he asks, “bit parts?” “Always,” I say, “a mask”—
And he kisses me right on the lips. Cottonwood cotton
Drifts on the draft like a pillow’s been shot.
…………….“Once,” I say, “they cast me as ‘singer,’
……………….COUSIN ROY, COUNTRY SINGER
…………….WANNABE.” His smile lingers.

Jesse Nathan

Jesse Nathan

Jesse Nathan’s poems appear in The Paris Review, Kenyon Review, The Yale Review, and elsewhere. He’s a lecturer in the English Department at UC Berkeley, and lives in Oakland.
Jesse Nathan

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Author: Jesse Nathan

Jesse Nathan’s poems appear in The Paris Review, Kenyon Review, The Yale Review, and elsewhere. He’s a lecturer in the English Department at UC Berkeley, and lives in Oakland.