Jack Martin



Wind bawls and collapses, rises
to gasp and pant,
guffaw until the pine post

and the 16d sinkers
in the easternmost section
of the privacy fence let go.

After years of fidelity, a six-by-ten
section of planks on a broken frame
rests on the lawn. I try to say words,

something useful, comforting, explain
how we can work this out. She can’t
hear me over the wind,

and when it subsides,
she is gone.
Who has not ended up stalled

on the side of the road near a graveyard
with only a tire iron and a misapprehension?           
A noise in the basement pulls him

one slow step at a time
down into darkness.
Hello? Anyone there?

The light switch won't work.
The car engine won't turn over.
A new noise. Another section of fence

collapses. Something
brushes the side of his face.
He doesn’t have to walk home,

but the marriage is over.






"Jar" used to be two poems. Neither one was working, so shortly after a section of my back fence blew down, I crammed them together and ended a marriage in the last line.