A poem for summer and my friend Jilline, who loved it. It's forthcoming in the new CavanKerry collection Same Old Story and has already appeared in the journal U.S. 1 Worksheets. It is highly appropriate that Jilline, the press, and the journal are (or were) 100 percent Jersey. Because so is this weather.
I miss you, Jilline, though stuck in this frozen so-called spring
I don’t picture you regretting my grim haunts; you, the girl
Who adored high summer, sporting your cheap slinky cling-
Tight blouses, those cat-eye shades propped in your dyed curls,
Your pink-flowered skirts, and a pair of flapping tacky lamé slides
On your big sore feet. Your beau-idée of taste was a dollar sale
At Marshall’s, the two of us name-dropping Ruskin and Gide,
Stage-whispering, “There’s your boyfriend,” across the gaudy aisles
At first sight of every funny-looker we met: those goat-
Faced circus clowns, those clad-entirely-in-blue albinos—
What freaks wandered this earth! . . . and you, decked out
Like a discount drag queen, lovingly deriding my beige vinyl
Sandals half-mended with bread ties. Only your puff of frail hair
Mentioned you were dying. The freaks pretended not to stare.