by Ariel Jones

Rage sits on you like a second skin.
It’s a necessary gravity,
pulling your atoms like
an exercise,
but you are merry.
Bright like wet curls
and curious as a child,
your desk is unbound with aging dates
and tobacco;
it's stacked with books I lent you on
Middle Eastern conflict
under the high Catholic ceilings.
Who taught you to marry
sprawling formulae with
winding notes?
To love the spike of Jaeger
like a teenaged boy
and drudge heart-heavy
with the footfall of a man
into forgiveness? To know
that the ritual is bleak,
and not unlike a head bowed
in the act of remembering each time?
But this is almost too neat for you—
you get things whole and
by your dogged focus in few places—
I can’t provide that at all.
That natural insouciance is
lost on me, but it hums around you
(just above the rage)
and you are warm from the tension.
Easily the warmest at the table;
the just-bubbling stovetop caramel,
a sweet flounce and garnish to the meal
cherished for its slow pour
and invariably
the crowd favorite.