“Jump*” by Shuly Xóchitl Cawood

after a line borrowed from Brionne Janae’s “Child’s Pose”

Imagine your heart is a trampoline, and people get on and off
all day, and sometimes at night when they should be sleeping.

Sleep is reckless, you know, but you tell no one that.
It’s your secret, the greedy night, the lazy stars who watch without caring.

Once, when you didn’t know who you were, you walked into his house
without knocking. There was a rake inside, for untangling things. 

There was a mat by the door where he scuffed his shoes clean.
Those shoes, red with rubber bottoms, reminded you of fire

that claims in quiet. He did not speak as he took
things. You did not speak as you watched. There are 

so many things unspoken now between you that 
you can no longer find your way to his door, knob 

and splinter, the hunger of it all swollen with rain. It’s hot 
outside and someone has set up the trampoline. It sits 

in the middle of a field ripe
with ironweed, bittersweet, and chokecherry. 

People take turns but no one jumps for long.

*The first four words are borrowed from Brionne Janae’s, “Child’s Pose.”

Shuly Xóchitl Cawood’s poetry collection, Trouble Can Be So Beautiful at the Beginning (Mercer University Press) won the Adrienne Bond Award for Poetry. Her other books include A Small Thing to Want: stories (Press 53) and the memoir The Going and Goodbye (Platypus Press). Her writing has been published in The New York Times, The Sun, and Brevity, among others. Shuly also teaches writing workshops. Learn more at www.shulycawood.com.