Nondisabled Demands

It’s not fair. You owe it to the reader. 
We’re trying to help. We have an uncle 
with a disability and he always says 

exactly what it is. Take it from him. 
Take it from us. Take it from them.
You can’t expect people to read you 

if you don’t come out and say it.
Everyone knows the default mode 
of a poem is ten fingers, ten toes

with sight and hearing and balance. 
When this is not true, it is incumbent 
on you to come out and say it.

Here’s what. We’ll rope you
to the podium and ask
What do you have? What is it? 

More by Jillian Weise

Goodbyes

begin long before you hear them
and gain speed and come out of 
the same place as other words.
They should have their own
place to come from, the elbow
perhaps, since elbows look
funny and never weep. Why
are you proud of me? I said
goodbye to you forty times.
I see your point. That is
an achievement unto itself.
My mom wants me to write
a goodbye poem. It should fit 
inside a card and use the phrase,
“You are one powerful lady.”
There is nothing powerful
about me though you might 
think so from the way I spit.
I don’t want to say goodbye
to you anymore. I heard
the first wave was an accident.
It happened in the Cave 
of the Hands in Santa Cruz.
The four of them were drinking
and someone killed
a wild boar and someone else
said, “Hey look, I put my hand
in it. Saying goodbye is like that.
You put your hand in it and then
you take your hand back.

Evangelize Your Love


At home, a sixteen-year-old son
and window treatments and walls
to paint and “How was your day?”
On the web there are no days
and no seasons and no oil changes
for the Subaru. “No one important.”
At the motel, flat pillows, a lamp 
tall as his son in the corner and 
a print of a sailboat. “In year three, 
the sex fizzled and we broke up. 
Then we got married.” Have you gotten 
yourself into something? “Tonight 
I am making your favorite dish.” 
News comes on, news goes off, taxes. 
“At some point, he stopped kissing me 
on the neck.” She needs to write 
her Goals Statement. “He promised.” 
More or less. “How can I live like this?” 
the three of them in unison.

Beside You on Main Street

We were stepping out of a reading
in October, the first cold night,
and we were following this couple,
were they at the reading? and because
we were lost, I called out to them,
“Are you going to the after party?”
The woman laughed and said no
and the man kept walking, and she
was holding his hand like I hold yours,
though not exactly, she did not
need him for balance. Then what
got into me? I said, “How long
have you been married?” and she said
“Almost 30 years” and because
we were walking in public, no secret,
tell everyone now it’s official,
I said, “How’s marriage?” The man
kept walking. The woman said,
“It gets better but then it gets different.”
The man kept walking.

Related Poems

Thinking, It's Ok to Discuss

This— The best tree
Is sick now, now discuss
Where to look, discuss:
The cause, and, if
Possible, discuss who
Could have prevented
The workers who are working
To prevent, and if it happens then
Prepares to discuss how bodger will
Recognize people saying "sick"
Everywhere, discuss how to handle
Discussing one sickness as if 
That sickness is the other
Sickness— Ok, sickness
Ok to say ok discuss
Discuss the landscape
When it changes from woods
To sorry. To not the ideal 
Tree to use as the marker
Beginning a discussion by a river
May confuse explanation with justification,
And, how to avoid, when I say I need
A new chair to work, you think:
I am using the chair as a metaphor